01-11-10: Say goodbye to the old milk-toast Ford Focus. The next-generation 2012 Ford Focus shatters the mold much like Ford did with the new Taurus last year. The new Ford Focus will raise the bar for small cars in America by providing customers with more affordable technologies and features than ever in the segment, as well as detailed craftsmanship, outstanding fuel economy and a new standard for driving quality.
Sleek, stylish and sporty, the new Ford Focus will be available in both four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles. What sill be a first is that the new Focus will be nearly identical in all markets around the globe with 80 percent parts commonality for each market.
Production of the next-generation Ford Focus will begin simultaneously in Europe and North America late this year and will begin arriving in dealerships in early 2011. Launches in Asia, Africa and South America will follow. Ford Focus models for America will be build in a completely revamped production plant in Wayne, MI right on Michigan Ave.
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. A version of the Grand C-Max is also said to be headed for our dealerships here in the States.
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 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.
Design of the Ford Focus is striking if not daring compared to existing models. “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.
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” multi-link rear suspension and the semi-isolated front and rear sub-frames.
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.
Under the hood for America, the 2012 Ford Focus sports a completely new 2.0-liter gasoline engine featuring 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 version of the Focus in 2011 at its Michigan Assembly Complex, for sales in North America. It will be the company’s first battery electric passenger vehicle.
Inside the new 2012 Focus, 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.
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.”
Way to go Ford! And don’t worry, we wont be missing the old one much.