Ever since the Ford Focus came out for sale in the U.S. in 2000, we all knew we had gotten the shaft. You see, for as long as we’ve had the Focus, so has the rest of Europe. But their car was modern, fun, young, filled with energy, and even thrilling. Ours was, well, lacking all of that. It was just great on gas, but not a gas to drive. The SVT Focus was fun while it lasted, but Ford didn’t produce many and pretty much shelved the idea of a performance driven Focus like the RS and ST that they dirty Euros were getting…
That is, until now! The 2012 Ford Focus that was debuted to us all at the start of Monday morning was full of buzz, flash and so much fun to see. It’s young, hip, filled with energy, and it’s coming to America, baby! It’s the car, along with the 2011 Fiesta, that Ford has needed over here. They needed a great car on gas, but something that would bring fun and enthusiasm back to life in a small car platform. Sure, front-wheel drive isn’t my favorite application on a car, but when it’s a small car, it can still be very good.
Debuting with the 2012 Focus was an all new dual-clutch transmission and a direct-injected, Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing 2-liter inline-4. You can read more about the new transmission and engine below. Only four and five door variants of the new Focus will make it to the states, however.
One more thing; Ford will only produce the Focus ST and/or RS for the North American markets only if journalists and consumers say they want it. I, for one, definitely want it. And I know I speak for most, if not all of my colleagues, when I say, “Bring it on!” So go to your local Ford dealer and tell them that you want the Focus RS or ST, or say you want both.
DYNAMIC NEXT-GENERATION FORD FOCUS DEBUTS
* Next-generation Ford Focus makes its worldwide debut at 2010 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit
* Focus spearheads Ford’s new generation of global C-cars, all based on a common platform that will underpin up to 10 vehicles around the world and account for 2 million units of annual production by 2012
* Stylish new range provides customers with class-leading new technologies, features and craftsmanship
* New Focus targets exceptional fuel economy, and advances acclaimed levels of driving quality
* New range will start production simultaneously in Europe and North America in late 2010 and go on sale early in 2011. Asia, Africa and South America production will follow
DETROIT, Jan. 11, 2010 – The next-generation Ford Focus makes its worldwide debut providing customers with more affordable technologies and features than ever in this segment, as well as detailed craftsmanship, outstanding fuel economy and a new standard for driving quality.
Sleek, stylish and sporty, both the four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles of the next-generation Focus are previewed prior to their production start for Europe and North America late in 2010 and market launch early in 2011.
The new Focus will be nearly identical in all markets, with 80 percent parts commonality around the world.
“The new Ford Focus is a clear demonstration that our ONE Ford strategy is providing global consumers with great products that harness the best of Ford Motor Company,” said Alan Mulally, Ford’s president and CEO.
“The efficiencies generated by our new global C-car platform will enable us to provide Ford Focus customers with an affordable product offering quality, fuel efficiency, safety and technology beyond their expectations,” he added.
Simultaneous launch in Europe and North America
Production of the next-generation Ford Focus will begin simultaneously in Europe and North America in late 2010, with individual market launches starting early in 2011. Launches in Asia, Africa and South America will follow. Initial production will be concentrated at the Saarlouis (Germany), Michigan (United States) and Chongqing (China) Assembly Plants.
The new Focus will be one of up to 10 unique models to be built from Ford’s new C-car platform, which is expected to generate total sales in all regions of 2 million units annually by 2012. The first of these will be the new Ford C-MAX and Ford Grand C-MAX – unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show – for launch in Europe in the second half of 2010.
“Global customers increasingly want smaller cars with outstanding fuel economy, but without sacrificing any of the style, technology, connectivity and driving quality they demand from larger vehicles,” explained Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development.
“Our next generation of C-cars – led by the exciting new Focus – will clearly show that Ford is ready to meet that challenge,” said Kuzak.
Engineered without compromise
The new Ford Focus has been developed by a global team, led from Ford’s European small and medium vehicle center of excellence in Merkenich, near Cologne, Germany, with powertrain development led by a similar team at Ford’s technical center in Dunton, England. The vehicle has been engineered without compromise to meet all customer and legislative requirements of the major worldwide markets.
In developing the vehicle for global markets, the product team in Europe was able to call on the experience acquired from recent programs like the much-acclaimed new Ford Fiesta, and was supported by the expertise of vehicle and powertrain technology specialists located in Ford’s engineering center in Dearborn, Mich.
Ford’s global development and sourcing strategy made it possible to provide a level of performance and feature content that is unrivaled for this vehicle segment and surprising even to drivers of larger, more premium vehicles.
Taking kinetic design to the next level
The no-compromise approach to the new Ford Focus is immediately evident from the striking exterior design of the four-door sedan and five-door hatchback models that take center stage at the 2010 NAIAS.
“The all-new Focus is at the center of convergence for automotive trends,” said J Mays, Ford group vice president of Design and chief creative officer. “We’ve designed it with an acute understanding of global customers, yet it’s tailored for each individual region. Focus combines the best from Europe, North America and Asia to deliver a level of emotional driving enjoyment never before experienced in a car this size.”
The two models share a sporty and dynamic character, marking the next evolution of Ford’s acclaimed kinetic design form language, which has contributed to the growing popularity of the company’s latest small and medium cars.
The kinetic design approach uses bold vehicle designs to capture the feeling of energy in motion, so that cars look like they are moving – even when they are standing still.
With its striking front end, sleek profile, dramatic rising beltline and athletic stance, the new Focus clearly telegraphs the rewarding driving experience that awaits customers when they take to the road.
This dynamic quality is reinforced by the distinctive design of the interior. The new Focus has an extremely modern, cockpit-style interior, with the stylish center console wrapped around the driver and providing outstanding access to the vehicle’s major controls and display panels.
A key element of the interior is the quality of craftsmanship. The cabin’s bold and contemporary graphics, the sculptured shape of the soft-touch instrument panel and the choice of superior trim materials all help to give occupants the feeling that they are traveling in a premium-class car.
Unmatched driving quality
When it was introduced in 1998, the original Ford Focus brought new levels of agility and responsiveness to the C-segment. The all-new Focus plans to raise the benchmark once more, targeting class-leading driving quality that blends outstanding steering precision and road feedback with significantly improved refinement and ride control.
To deliver this performance, engineers have updated the innovative suspension concepts from prior models, developing optimized new designs for the “control blade” multilink rear suspension and the semi-isolated front and rear subframes.
The chassis design is complemented by a completely new Electric Power Assist Steering system, which has been carefully tuned to deliver pure and precise responses at high speed while remaining light and maneuverable for parking.
Ford’s European driving dynamics specialists have also enhanced cornering stability and agility with the introduction of an advanced Dynamic Cornering Control system, which uses “torque vectoring” techniques to transfer power between the drive wheels to deliver reduced understeer, improved traction and better turn-in.
All global customers will benefit from the same quality of dynamic performance in the new Focus. Identical chassis and suspension architecture is being used for all markets, except for minor regional tuning differences, such as local tire specifications.
Efficient powertrains deliver performance with outstanding economy
The engaging driver appeal of the new Ford Focus is magnified by a powertrain range that delivers spirited performance and targets outstanding levels of fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
The global powertrain lineup for the new Focus will include a range of state-of-the-art Ford EcoBoost™ four-cylinder turbocharged direct injection (DI) engines – including the 1.6-liter unit in Europe and a choice of advanced and improved Duratorq TDCi common-rail diesel engines, all of which offer reductions in fuel consumption of between 10 and 20 percent compared to the outgoing models.
For the NAIAS preview, Ford is showing a completely new 2.0-liter gasoline engine for the North American market that features DI and Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) for enhanced performance and fuel efficiency. The new 2.0-liter DI Ti-VCT engine is up to 20 horsepower more powerful than the current 2.0 Duratec I-4 unit while contributing to projected fuel economy gains of more than 10 percent.
To maximize the performance and economy advantage enjoyed by the new Focus, the 2.0-liter DI Ti-VCT engine is mated with the latest dry-clutch six-speed Ford PowerShift automatic transmission. This transmission uses an advanced dual-clutch design, which alone can help to reduce fuel consumption by up to 9 percent compared to a traditional four-speed automatic.
The dry-clutch PowerShift transmission is based on more efficient manual gearbox technology, and does not require the additional weight and complexity of torque converters, planetary gears and oil pumps used in conventional automatics. Electronically controlled twin clutches shift gears quickly and smoothly, providing the seamless flow of torque plus the refinement and ease of operation customers expect from a premium automatic transmission.
Ford also has confirmed plans to begin building a full, battery electric vehicle in 2011 at its Michigan Assembly Complex, for sales in North America. It will be the company’s first battery electric passenger vehicle.
Intuitive technology enhances convenience and safety
The next-generation Focus will bring C-segment customers around the world an exciting array of advanced technologies generally found in larger, more premium vehicles. The global scale of Ford’s C-car program makes more technologies and features economically viable than ever before for cars in this segment.
The technology package of the new Focus promises not only clear leadership in the C-segment, but also includes features customers in larger, more premium segments would find surprising.
The new technologies have been designed to be simple and highly intuitive to use, while enhancing both convenience and safety for the vehicle occupants.
Within the cockpit, the most significant innovation is the company’s next-generation driver connect technology, MyFord, which provides the driver with a state-of-the-art combination of controls and display screens to operate the key vehicle features. On high series vehicles, the MyFord system includes an 8-inch touch screen, allowing the driver to control a wide range of functions via a clear and intuitive color display.
MyFord is complemented by a new generation of Ford’s powerful SYNC® connectivity package, which includes a sophisticated voice control system, Bluetooth and satellite navigation, along with connection points for a wide variety of external devices and media players.
Other available safety and convenience technologies include keyless entry and “Ford Power” start button, a rearview camera and a semi-automatic parallel parking system that automatically steers the vehicle into a parking spot.
Strength and safety
The Focus platform provides an incredibly strong and stiff structure, which not only benefits vehicle dynamics and refinement but also provides the basis for enhanced crash performance.
High-strength steels are used extensively in the next-generation Focus body shell. High-strength steels comprise 55 percent of the body shell, and more than 26 percent of the vehicle’s structure is formed from ultra-high-strength and Boron steels – significantly more than any other Ford product. These advanced materials help the structure meet the most stringent crash legislation across world markets, while minimizing the vehicle’s weight.
The structural integrity of the body shell is also reflected in its torsional rigidity, which is 25 percent greater than the current North American Focus.
Quality and craftsmanship in every detail
With global customers now demanding a more premium experience from small- and medium-sized vehicles, achieving outstanding levels of quality and craftsmanship was a primary objective for the new Focus.
The new Focus will make significant strides in reducing cabin noise, promising a quiet cabin environment. This refinement complements the fresh new interior design and higher craftsmanship levels to create a premium feel akin to larger vehicles.
Each component in the vehicle that the customer will touch, see, hear or even smell has been subjected to rigorous analysis to ensure that it will exceed an owner’s expectations. Particular attention has been given to the quality of interior trim materials, and the color matching, gaps, flushness and tolerances where one part meets another.
Across the majority of vehicle attributes, Ford has developed a global DNA standard that defines the exact attributes a part should have to meet the quality requirements of the brand. Examples include the sound the door makes when it is closed, requiring special attention to the door structure and latch mechanism, and the design of a steering wheel, right down to the thickness of padding and size of stitching on the rim.
This meticulous attention to detail is also reflected in Ford’s global manufacturing strategy for the Focus, with consistent standards and processes being applied in every one of the assembly plants, wherever they are located in the world.
“We believe the new Ford Focus will provide consumers with an unmatched driving experience, together with an unrivaled ownership experience,” said Jim Farley, Ford group vice president, Global Marketing. “The Focus brand always has been very special to Ford, and this new global model shows our commitment to developing another generation of exciting and appealing cars.”
GLOBAL DEBUT OF FORD FOCUS PREVIEWS NEW FUEL-EFFICIENT POWERTRAIN TECHNOLOGIES
* The all-new Ford Focus previewed at the 2010 North American International Auto Show features a fuel-efficient new 2.0-liter DOHC I-4 engine with Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) and direct injection (DI)
* The global reveal of the next-generation Focus also features an advanced dual-clutch PowerShift six-speed automatic transmission designed to deliver better fuel economy than comparable automatics
* The new engine and transmission are the first examples of a Focus powertrain strategy that reinforces Ford’s commitment to delivering fuel economy leadership without sacrificing driving fun throughout its global offerings
DETROIT, Jan. 11, 2010 – The reveal of the next-generation Ford Focus at the 2010 North American International Auto Show includes the first in a series of powertrain technology developments coming from Ford that give its new global C-segment leader a combination of power, exhilarating performance and unsurpassed fuel economy.
Ford has disclosed that North American models of the new Focus will be equipped with a responsive, fuel-efficient combination of a 2.0-liter I-4 engine with Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) and direct injection (DI) plus a dual-clutch PowerShift transmission.
“Combining a direct-injected engine and the dual-clutch PowerShift transmission will help Focus redefine fuel economy and flexibility in the C-car segment,” said Barb Samardzich, vice president for Ford’s global powertrain development. “The refinement and sheer fun-to-drive nature of the new Focus will surprise a lot of drivers.”
The new engine is designed to deliver an estimated 155 horsepower and 145 ft.-lb. of torque to give customers ample performance and a refined driving experience.
The 2.0-liter Ti-VCT I-4 also serves as another example of Ford delivering fuel economy leadership by using advanced technologies to produce surprising power from minimal displacement. The engine can deliver outstanding fuel economy and emissions along with the throttle response, performance and flexibility expected from a world-class engine.
“Using direct injection and Ti-VCT, and coupling that to a dual-clutch transmission, we’ve been able to make a quantum leap in fuel economy and performance,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. “We’re meeting the goals of our global powertrain strategy, and we now have another key powertrain for use around the world.”
Core engine technologies
As a DOHC design, the 2.0-liter I-4 uses two camshafts: one to open the intake valves and one to open the exhaust valves. Traditionally, camshafts have only been able to open the valves at a fixed point, defined during engine design and manufacture. But with modern variable cam timing systems, the camshafts can be rotated slightly relative to their initial position, allowing the cam timing to be advanced or retarded.
Ti-VCT takes this technology and applies it to both the intake and exhaust camshafts of its DOHC design, using electronic solenoid valves to direct high-pressure oil to control vanes in each of the camshaft sprocket housings. By using one oil control solenoid per camshaft, controlled by the Electronic Control Module, each intake and exhaust cam can be advanced or retarded independently of the other as engine operating conditions change, providing an exceptional degree of valve timing control.
“The overlap control via Ti-VCT helps us eliminate compromises in the induction and exhaust systems,” said Jamie Hanshaw, Ford VCT technical specialist. “Drivers will notice improved low-end power and better fuel economy. And there are benefits they won’t notice too, like reduced emissions overall, especially at part-throttle.”
Fuel metering duties on the 2.0-liter I-4 are handled by a DI system that precisely delivers a fine mist of fuel directly into each cylinder for optimal performance, economy and emissions. Unlike port fuel injection (PFI) engines that spray fuel into the intake system, the direct injection system puts the fuel in the combustion chamber, exactly where it needs to be for combustion. Thanks to DI, the engine can safely operate at a high 12:1 compression ratio (compared with the current engine’s 10:1 ratio), further enhancing power and efficiency. And unlike most competitive direct injection systems, the engine will be E85 flex fuel-capable.
The high-pressure fuel injectors are positioned to the side of each cylinder, aiming the fuel directly into the cylinder adjacent to a high-intensity spark plug and alongside the intake and exhaust valves. Fuel is sprayed into the cylinders at pressures of up to 2,150 pounds per square inch, which is about 35 times more intense than PFI injection.
“The DI system creates an incredibly fine spray of gasoline that’s injected directly into the combustion chamber at the precise moment it’s needed, eliminating a lot of the compromises on traditional fuel systems,” explains Scott Makowski, I-4 engine manager. “It sounds simple, but months of testing and computer simulation went into finding the exact injector spray pattern, where in the cylinder to aim the spray, and even the piston dome design.”
The Denso high-pressure fuel injectors use internal solenoids to precisely switch the flow of fuel on and off. Fuel flows through six tiny outlets – like pinholes – in each injector, and each spray is positioned to provide benefits in fuel economy and emissions. A sophisticated electronic control system varies the timing and intensity of the fuel delivery according to engine operating conditions.
Attention to detail yields fuel economy improvements
Complementing the efficiencies introduced by Ti-VCT and DI, every aspect of the proven 2.0-liter I-4 was examined to identify ways fuel economy could be improved. Key strategies focused on reducing internal engine friction and reducing overall weight.
Computer modeling indicated areas where friction reduction strategies would pay the most dividends. The valvetrain received a fine surface treatment to present the smoothest surface possible. Piston skirts are treated with a special low-friction coating, and the oil pump and its drive ratio are sized for the exact capacity requirements of the new 2.0-liter engine.
Accessory drive friction was also reduced through a series of actions. Electric Power Assist Steering eliminates the drag of an engine-driven power steering pump, while the use of so-called stretchy belt technology removes friction in the form of a belt tensioner on the air-conditioning compressor drive system.
Additionally, an overriding alternator decoupler – essentially a special pulley that reduces certain types of vibrations – allows the alternator and water pump drive belt to operate at a much lower tension than is typically used, further reducing frictional losses.
To keep overall powertrain weight as low as possible, the block, cylinder head and oil pan – traditionally the heaviest engine components – are aluminum castings. To increase rigidity, these elements are ribbed for additional strength and durability. Pistons are cast aluminum as well, with the light weight helping to reduce reciprocating mass.
Composite material is employed to keep intake manifold weight to an absolute minimum, while allowing for induction routing to increase thermal efficiency and improve low-end torque characteristics.
PowerShift: A different kind of automatic
An all-new PowerShift six-speed automatic transmission that combines the responsive performance and fuel economy of a manual gearbox with the convenience of a traditional automatic transmission promises to be another key Focus powertrain technology.
“PowerShift is a transmission that changes the game,” said Samardzich. “Our fuel economy leader is now a PowerShift automatic. Previously, a C-segment driver needed a manual transmission and a clutch pedal to enjoy the greatest fuel efficiency.”
Twin internal clutches keep the PowerShift in constant mesh, continuously optimizing for maximum responsiveness and fuel efficiency, depending on engine speed, vehicle speed and input from the driver’s foot on the accelerator pedal. The new technology provides significant fuel economy improvement, and for the driver, it retains the operational ease of an automatic with noticeably quicker and smoother shift quality.
PowerShift is a dual dry clutch transmission, operating with sealed internal lubrication, reducing friction and contributing to Focus fuel economy improvements. The lack of pumps and hoses reduces complexity, saves weight and contributes to fuel efficiency.
An additional feature is Hill Start Assist functionality. This sensor-based system will “hold” the brakes for an instant (2.5 seconds) to prevent rollback when stopping or starting from rest on an incline. Employing a digital accelerometer to measure slope incline, the system activates automatically when the incline exceeds 3 percent.
Simpler, more responsive and more fuel-efficient than a conventional automatic transaxle, PowerShift represents an innovative small car breakthrough.
Continuing refinement on the global stage
Using the 2.0-liter Ti-VCT engine and PowerShift dual-clutch transmission in the North American market, combined with state-of-the-art common-rail diesels for global customers, Focus is poised to claim a leadership role in fuel economy from the moment it’s launched. This powertrain will not be marketed in Europe.
The global powertrain lineup for the new Focus also will include a range of state-of-the-art Ford EcoBoost™ four-cylinder turbocharged direct injection engines – including the 1.6-liter unit in Europe and a choice of advanced and improved Duratorq TDCi common-rail diesel engines, all of which offer reductions in fuel consumption of between 10 and 20 percent compared to the outgoing models.
“When the new Focus launches in late 2010, it will be among the global leaders in fuel economy and CO2 emissions,” said Kuzak. “We will continue to pioneer new technologies beyond launch, including a true zero-emission model launching in North America in 2011. Throughout its life cycle, Focus in all forms, in all regions, will demonstrate the Ford commitment to deliver unsurpassed fuel economy on a truly global scale.”
GLOBAL FOCUS – FORD’S NEW C-SEGMENT PRODUCT FAMILY POISED TO ACHIEVE UNPRECEDENTED SCALE
* The next-generation Ford Focus previewed at the 2010 North American International Auto Show is the flagship of the company’s all-new, global C-segment platform that will account for more than 2 million cars annually by 2012
* Up to 10 models – including the next-generation Ford C-MAX revealed at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show and destined for North America in 2011 – will be developed on the single, highly flexible global platform, which replaces three platforms currently in production
* The C-segment is a critical battleground as Ford launches its drive to create a truly global product range. One in four vehicles sold around the world comes from this size classification. Ford forecasts small cars – a combination of B- and C-segments – will soon comprise more than 50 percent of global industry volume
* Leveraging its global scale, Ford can affordably offer C-segment customers attractive new levels of technology and a broad array of feature content
DETROIT, Jan. 11, 2010 – The next-generation Ford Focus revealed today at the North American International Auto Show delivers on the company’s promise to offer more products people really want while truly leveraging its global product and manufacturing strengths.
Up to 10 new models will be built on the new global C-segment platform, which replaces three platforms currently in production regionally. By 2012, the new platform will account for more than 2 million units of volume, providing Ford unprecedented scale and an opportunity to offer to customers around the world an array of new technologies and product features usually reserved for premium vehicles.
“Ford’s new C-sized family will be the strongest demonstration yet of how we’re harnessing the company’s global resources to deliver real customer benefits,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development. “The next-generation Focus is our C-segment flagship, offering technology you don’t expect in a C-car, feature content you would not expect in a C-car, and craftsmanship, materials and interior quietness you would not expect in a C-car. The scale we’re generating makes it possible to deliver all that.”
Globally, Ford expects its C-car volumes to double, from about 1 million units in 2008 to more than 2 million units by 2012. Plus, the new Focus is expected to be sold in 122 countries around the world.
Ford’s manufacturing base is rapidly expanding and reconfiguring to deliver that scale. The company already has confirmed that products developed from the new C-car platform will be manufactured in the United States, Germany, Spain, Russia and China. Other production sites will follow.
The new Ford Focus will reach aggressively to achieve scale, with production beginning almost simultaneously in Europe and North America in late 2010 and vehicles set to reach dealerships in early 2011. It will launch in 2012 in the Asia Pacific and Africa region, where new assembly plant construction is under way in China to lay the groundwork for next-generation products that are truly global in reach.
Global product for global demand
The new Focus is positioned to appeal to a major – and growing – international customer segment. One in four vehicles sold worldwide is a C-segment vehicle. C-cars are the heart of the European car market, a mainstay in Asia-Pacific and growing in importance in The Americas.
Ford’s C-car plan reflects these market forces:
* U.S. small car sales – combined B- and C-segments – grew from about 14 percent of the market in 2004 to more than 21 percent now. Within five years, the C-segment alone could reach 25 percent of the U.S. market, according to Ford forecasters.
* In Europe, C-cars are an even stronger force, representing 30 percent of sales in a highly diverse segment.
* The segment accounts for approximately 25 percent of passenger car sales across the Asia Pacific and Africa region.
Developing appealing products that meet global customer expectations is a key facet of the ONE Ford strategy championed by Ford Motor Company President and CEO Alan Mulally. The heart of the strategy is to maximize the leverage of Ford’s product development investments.
The new C-car family from Ford will advance the ONE Ford strategy by offering a truly global product, with high degrees of commonality – about 80 percent – across all regions.
Customer research from The Americas to China has validated Ford’s move to transform its product development operations from a regional basis – typical of full-range, global automakers such as Toyota and Volkswagen – to a truly global basis. For example, during research for the next-generation Ford Focus, customer feedback from all three major regions of the world favored the same kinetic design, eliminating the need for regional product differences and strengthening the mandate for a world-class, truly international product.
Even norms about body style preference from country to country are less steadfast today. Ford expects the five-door hatchback body style to grow from 25 to 40 percent of volume in North America with this Focus. Four-door sedans have been the dominant body style in the U.S. market, but hatchbacks are growing in popularity as customers begin to appreciate their interior space efficiency and flexibility, particularly when combined with craftsmanship, materials and quietness that can be delivered in a vehicle such as the next-generation Focus.
Five-door models also are growing in popularity among C-car customers in China, traditionally another sedan stronghold.
The shapes of platform efficiency
The new Focus models are part of a vanguard of C-size vehicles coming from Ford. The company’s strategy to achieve profitable growth globally from this segment is built on creating a highly flexible platform as the basis for a wide range of products.
Ford’s C-segment strategy reflects strong demand for MAVs (multi-activity vehicles) and other body styles in addition to traditional sedan and hatchback configurations. Not only does this result in more customer choice than ever, it also helps Ford better leverage its product development assets globally.
Ford’s new C-car portfolio capitalizes on customer trends driving diversification of body styles within segments. The breadth of the Ford C-segment family will be crucial to meeting growing global demand for C-sized vehicles without the one-shape-fits-all approach.
The new Ford C-MAX, revealed at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show as the first glimpse of the Ford C-segment family, showcases the platform’s flexibility.
C-MAX – which will be built in Valencia, Spain – will be available in all European markets by late 2010. The five-seat C-MAX departs from usual MAV thinking in Europe by adopting a sportier feel with a stylish passenger-car look, while the Grand C-MAX, Ford’s first seven-seat C-sized MAV, features twin sliding doors and innovative seat design to provide outstanding space and flexibility. A version of the seven-seat Grand C-MAX is also scheduled to launch in North America in late 2011 as a promised “whitespace” entry.
Most of the new technologies and features introduced with the C-MAX, plus further innovations, will cascade into future members of the new C-car family.
The Ford C-MAX exemplifies the benefits of platform diversification, providing a distinctive and stylish alternative with the same footprint as a traditional C-car.
In Europe, larger-package MAVs have grown to more than 30 percent of the C-segment volume once dominated almost solely by five-door models. The same trend has occurred in North America with the growth of crossover utility vehicles alongside traditional cars and sport utility vehicles.
“We believe that in North America, C-cars will migrate in the same way they migrated in Europe,” Kuzak said. “Customers have gone from four-door sedans to five-door hatches and moved into multi-activity vehicles, which provide more interior flexibility in a right-size vehicle. North America already recognizes this for Taurus- and Flex-size vehicles and for Fusion- and Edge-size vehicles. Why should Focus and C-MAX ultimately be any different from a customer point of view?”
Rightsizing without compromise
Demand for C-segment vehicles globally will come in part from a trend called “rightsizing,” in which customers – more conscious of fuel price instability, their own carbon footprints and their individual vehicle needs – are increasingly expected to choose vehicles in this segment as the right cars for them.
Those who stereotype small cars as basic are in for a surprise. Ford Focus and its C-car siblings will offer an array of features and technologies previously unavailable in this segment.
The new Ford C-cars were developed with an awareness of converging customer wants and expectations. Increasingly in some markets like the United States, C-sized vehicles are chosen by customers downsizing from larger cars due to sensitivity about fuel prices or reduced household size for some demographic groups.
“People downsize cars, not expectations,” said Kuzak. “Customers are increasingly making decisions to downsize driven by lifestyle and fuel economy. We’ve learned that when customers downsize, they still want the amenities they’ve become used to in larger vehicles. They want a small car that is fully featured with the right materials, craftsmanship and quality.”
Ford expects Focus customers globally to continue a trend of wanting more in terms of features and creature comforts. In Europe, Asia-Pacific and Africa, customer orders for higher-specification models of the new Ford Fiesta have exceeded projections – an indication that even customers in value-oriented segments want to have entertainment, connectivity and feature benefits previously considered luxury car offerings.
European excellence – global execution
Ford’s new C-vehicle family leverages more than Ford’s product development budgets. It also leverages product development expertise globally, resulting in even stronger levels of product commonality around the world.
The new range of vehicles is being created as the result of an unprecedented global development program that capitalizes fully on Ford’s best small car development talent. Ford of Europe, where the company’s key small car design and engineering talent is based, led the global development program as Ford’s small car center of excellence.
“From day one, the new generation of Ford C-cars was created as a global product,” said Gunnar Herrmann, C-segment vehicle line director, Ford of Europe. “It was created by one single team operating globally, with responsibility to deliver the next-generation Ford Focus and a family of vehicles in this size segment. This lead engineering vehicle team approach will be used for all of our global products moving forward.”
This approach enables higher degrees of global commonality, which will help Ford deliver for C-segment customers an array of available advanced technologies aimed at enhancing their convenience, comfort, safety and overall driving experience.
“Under our ONE Ford philosophy, we have been able to harness the talents of our global product development team in designing and developing vehicles for all markets,” said Kuzak. “With the efficiency and time-to-market speed of our Global Product Development System, Ford’s global team is bringing to our customers a worldwide family of vehicles that are truly exciting in design and packed with an unexpected level of features and technologies.”
The new way of working within Ford – spawned by the company’s ONE Ford strategy – broke down regional barriers that had previously resulted in different engineering standards that often caused unnecessary re-engineering of products and components.
“Our team set global Ford DNA standards – incorporating the needs of all the key world markets – and ensured they would be applied, tested and measured with the same methodology,” Herrmann explained. “We’re all talking the same language, so the synergies are immense.”
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 200,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.