The fourth-generation Ford Focus, which is due to be unveiled in 2018, is probably one of the more hotly anticipated new models expected in the next few months. While we have few actual confirmed details about this new car, we now know that Ford isn’t content with car’s market positioning.
Much like the all-new Fiesta, the Focus will follow its move further upmarket, being priced to be a notch more luxurious and better equipped as standard. Consequently, volume will also decrease slightly from the clip at which the current third-gen model is being produced. Essentially, the Focus will more aggressively target the Volkswagen Golf at toward the more premium end of the same segment as opposed to competing fiercely with - for example - the Hyundai i30 and German-developed Holden Astra.
The news comes from the remarks of Jim Farley, Ford’s head of global markets, who relayed the company’s tweaked intention for the Focus to investors recently. Prior to that, new CEO Jim Hackett outlined the Blue Oval’s high level strategy after his first few months at the top of the company.
Hackett, who previously was running Ford’s ‘Smart Mobility’ division responsible for development of autonomous vehicle and connectivity systems, also touched upon the need to streamline and forge a clear path as a technology leader in an industry undergoing a technology-driven metamorphosis, emphasising a major shift toward transition to electrified powertrains. Presumably, the all-new Focus will also be one of the first global models to widely include single or multiple hybrid variants.
The 4th Focus will also closely mirror the Fiesta in terms of how it handles multiple grades. Perhaps the clearest manifestation of this push upmarket is the upcoming luxury range-topper, the Focus Vignale. Additionally, there will also be a more ruggedised Focus Active to capitalise on the crossover boom and, ostensibly, combat cars like the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack.
By that same token, the starting price of the next Focus might rise, either through equipping all variants with greater levels of equipment and luxury or by selectively culling lower grade variants that yield a smaller profit margin, especially in markets in which the pricier options prove far more successful in terms of units sold.
As an aside, another element we hope Ford will repeat with the next Focus as they did with the new Fiesta is to show us the ST hot hatch version first, followed by the less exciting but more widely appealing Sport and Titanium variants. Earlier spy shots indicated that Ford will ditch the independent rear suspension of the current car in favour of a torsion beam setup, causing some concern that Ford is moving away from its reputation as a sharp handler by default. That said, we’ve seen torsion beams work very well in other front-drive cars, most notably being the Renault Megane RS.
Ford’s all-new Focus hatch is expected to have its official unveiling in Europe in the early months of 2018, likely January or February. Should there be no delays, it’s predicted launch rollouts should occur toward the middle of the year with most markets receiving units assembled in Ford’s plant in Saarlouis, Germany. Meanwhile, examples headed for North America are slated to be built in China.