New Ford Focus RS expected in 2015
February 4, 2013
by Jim Holder
The news marks a major shift for Ford, which in recent years has focused on mass-market models to raise sales volumes and cut costs under boss Alan Mulally’s ‘One Ford’ strategy that develops cars for global sale using as many common parts as possible.
However, with its new model roll-out almost complete, the crucial American market in profit, Asian business growing and a rescue strategy in place for its ailing European arm, bosses are now said to have agreed investment in niche models with the potential to add lustre to the brand and raise its profile beyond the struggling mass market.
Barb Samardzich, vice president of product development for Ford Europe, told Autocar: “We’ve concentrated on developing cars for world markets, and you can see the result of that with the Edge and Mustang scheduled to come to Europe, and the Fiesta and Focus in the US. Our ‘One Ford’ policy has succeeded in pushing our mainstream products further than ever, and the next step is to provide customers with more exemplary, smaller-volume highlight products. Planning doesn’t just have to be about the mainstream now; we can go to the edges again.”
Samardzich stopped short of fully confirming a new Focus RS, saying only “watch this space” when probed, but others at Ford have confirmed development work has begun. Autocar understands sign-off for the project is imminent, dependent on final analysis showing a business case for it to sit beside the new, European-bound Mustang, which is confirmed for 2014.
However, Samardzich also revealed to Autocar that recent studies concluded customers for Ford’s high-performance vehicles were divided into very different groups. This is believed to have significantly strengthened the case for a Focus RS by abating fears that it would cannibalise Focus ST or Mustang sales.
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