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Ford Focus (North America)

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Ford Focus (North America)

Ford Focus
Overview
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1998–present
Body and chassis
Class Compact car
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Chronology
Predecessor Ford Escort (Europe;North America)
Ford Laser (asia)

The Ford Focus is a compact car (C-segment in Europe) manufactured by the Ford Motor Company since 1998. Ford began sales of the Focus to Europe in July 1998 and in North America during 1999 for the 2000 model year.

In Europe, South America, North America and South Africa, the Focus replaced the various versions of the Ford Escort and Ford Laser sold in those markets. In Asia and Australasia, it replaced the Ford Laser. As of the first half of 2012, the Focus surpassed the Toyota Corolla to become the world's best selling automobile nameplate. The Focus has been considered one of the 50 greatest cars of the past fifty years by British magazine CAR.

First generation (1998–2005)

Main article: Ford Focus (first generation)

Ford of Europe introduced the Focus in 1998 to the European market as a replacement for the Ford Escort. The decision to name the new car the "Ford Focus" was made in early 1998, as Ford's overheads had been planning to keep the "Escort" nameplate for its new generation of small family cars. A last minute problem arose in July 1998 when a Cologne court, responding to a case brought by the publisher Burda, ordered Ford to avoid the name "Focus" for the cars in the German market since the name was already taken by one of its magazines (Focus).[1] This eleventh hour dispute was resolved, however, and the car was launched with the name Focus.

Ford of North America began marketing the Focus in October 1999 as a surprise Christmas present for Ford's CEO Jacques Nasser, with some changes from the European version. The car launched as a 3-door hatchback, 4-door sedan and 5-door wagon; a 5-door hatchback debuted in 2000.[2]

Second generation (2005–2011)

Europe


Main article: Ford Focus (second generation, Europe)

The second generation Focus was launched at the Paris Motor Show on September 23, 2004 as a three and five-door hatchback and an estate, although the new car was previewed, in 4-door sedan form, as the 'Focus Concept' developed by Ford Europe at the Beijing Motor Show in mid-2004.

The basic suspension design, which contributed much to the Mk 1's success, was carried over largely unchanged from its predecessor which, along with a 10% stiffer bodyshell, offers a better ride according to Ford but lacked on the precise and poised handling of the Mk1. The same body styles as the Mk 1 Focus were offered, though the saloon did not appear until mid-2005.

The Focus Mk 2 is larger and considerably heavier than its predecessor: it has a 25 mm (1 in) increase in wheelbase, and is 168 mm (6.6 in) longer, 8 mm (0.3 in) taller and 22 mm (0.8 in) wider. As a result the interior and boot space have increased. New technologies include a KeyFree system, a solar-reflect windshield, adaptive front lighting, Bluetooth hands-free phones and voice control for audio, telephone and climate control systems.

Stylistically, the Mk 2 features the same design language found in the Mondeo and Fiesta. Although still recognisable as a Focus, the new car uses styling features from the abandoned B-Proposal for the original Focus which never reached production.

In 2005, Ford released a MK.II version of Ford's sports division of Focus, the Focus ST. This one produced 225 bhp, over 50 bhp more than the MK.I ST, and could achieve a 0-60 mph time of just 6.4 seconds, and a 152 mph top speed.

The 2008 model year saw a facelifted version introduced, featuring Ford's Kinetic Design philosophy. Major changes included a new bonnet with more creases, the removal of all mouldings along the doors and sides, new sculpted pull back headlights, and the big trapezoidal lower grille.

North America

Main article: Ford Focus (second generation, North America)

For the North American market, development followed a separate path. Since debuting at the 2007 North American International Auto Show, the restyled 2008–2011 generation was available as a two-door coupe and four-door sedan; the hatchbacks and wagon were discontinued. The interior was redesigned, including new seats, a new dashboard design with message center on top of the dashboard, ambient lighting, dashboard panels that simulate brushed aluminum, and Ford's voice-controlled Sync audio/Bluetooth system. Also included in the redesign was a support beam behind the dashboard for extra structural rigidity.

Though informally considered as the second generation, it was never officially referred to as such by Ford.

Third generation (2011–present)


In 2010 Ford decided to reunite both international and North American models by releasing the international Mk3 worldwide. The previous North American version was discontinued, and the new model was launched simultaneously in North America and Europe in early 2011, both having started production late in 2010.[3][4]

Ford unveiled the 2011 global Ford Focus at the 2010 North American International Auto Show. The car shown was a 5-door hatchback model, also debuting a new 2.0L direct injection I4 engine. A 5-door estate will also be available at launch.[5] The new generation launched simultaneously in North America and Europe in early 2011, with production having started in late 2010.[4] Production in Asia, Africa, Australia[6] and South America was scheduled to follow later but the plan for Australian production was later dropped and that market and New Zealand supplied, along with Asia, from a new factory in Thailand where output began in June 2012. This new generation of Focus incorporates a redesigned cabin with improved materials and new entertainment technologies.


Electric version
Main article: Ford Focus Electric

Ford debuted the all-electric Ford Focus Electric at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2011 to compete with the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt. Deliveries for fleet customers in the United States began in December 2011,[7] and the release to retail customers took place by late May 2012. The electric car is available only in California, New York and New Jersey, in limited numbers.[8][9] The European release was scheduled for late 2012.[10]

ST Version

The ST Estate was named "The Hot Hatch of the Year 2012" by Top Gear (magazine). The 2013 Focus ST is available as a 5 door Hatch, or as an estate. The estate will not be available in the United States. Also notable is that the ST has 252 hp (188 kW) and 270 lb·ft (366 N·m) of torque.

Motorsport

The first Focus World Rally Car made its debut in rallying and the World Rally Championship on the 1999 Monte Carlo Rally with Colin McRae and Simon Jean-Joseph at the wheels of the two cars, replacing, for the first time in a generation, the venerable Escort. It was immediately on the pace, setting many fastest stage times, but a vehicle weight issue meant that the two cars were excluded from that event. McRae went on to give the Focus WRC its maiden victory on the Safari Rally in February of the same year and took victory again in the following rally, the Rally Portugal.

The MkI Focus WRC went on to achieve further victories over the years for McRae, Carlos Sainz and Markko Märtin from then until it was phased out in favour of the MkII offering in late 2005.[11] This car, a winner in both Marcus Grönholm's and Mikko Hirvonen's hands in the two-car factory BP-Ford World Rally Team that contested the 2006 World Rally Championship season, duly racked up the manufacturers' title,[12] spelling the end of a formidable twenty-seven year wait for such an honour in this series for the Blue Oval. The team successfully defended the manufacturers' title in the 2007 season.[13] The Focus WRC was used until the 2010 season, when it was announced that the new Fiesta will replace the Focus from 2011 and onwards.[14]

All the rally cars are built, prepared and run for Ford by M-Sport, the motorsport team based in Cockermouth, Cumbria in Northern England. The team is managed by Malcolm Wilson, a well known former British rally driver.[15]

Besides rallies, the Focus has also been used in the SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car Series, the TC 2000, resulting champion in 2003, 2005, 2010 and 2012.

The Ford Focus ST made its debut in the 2009 British Touring Car Championship, with Arena Motorsport. During its second season, the car ran on Liquefied Petroleum Gas, taking the first BTCC win for a car powered by this fuel at Brands Hatch. In 2011 Arena(also known as Team AON) shifted to the newer Focus Mk3, while Motorbase Performance drove the ST version. Both cars had engines, built by the Next Generation Touring Car engine rules. Motorbase continiues to compete with the Ford Focus ST.

In 2012 Arena Motorsport entered two Ford Focus Mk3s in the World Touring Car Championship for Tom Chilton and James Nash. The best result is 6th place by Nash in the Race of Morocco.

In 2008 Ford South Africa entered two modified Focus ST models into Class T (reserved for turbocharged production vehicles) of the local Bridgestone Production Car Championship (essentially a Touring Car formula). They secured the Class T driver's titles in 2009 and 2011.

Sales

Year US Sales
1999 55,896[16]
2000 286,166
2001 264,414[17]
2002 243,199[18]
2003 229,353
2004 208,339[19]
2005 184,825
2006 177,006[20]
2007 173,213
2008 195,823[21]
2009 160,433[22]
2010 172,421[23]
2011 175,717[24]
2012 245,922[25]

The Ford Focus was the best-selling car in the world for 2012.[26]

References

External links

  • Ford Focus Review
Template:Ford

Template:Modern North American Ford vehicles

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