Not often does one hear an automaker level out that the following era of a preferred product is headed downmarket.
Even when a automobile is repositioned in a decrease finish of the market, “downmarket” is the final phrase you’re going to listen to out of an auto government’s mouth. As a substitute, automakers up the worth quotient, cater to the calls for of discerning patrons, or discover new manufacturing efficiencies we are able to cross on to the shopper.
Extra usually, automakers tout their new product as a transfer upmarket. So it’s with Ford Motor Firm’s fourth-generation Focus, based on Jim Farley, previously of Ford of Europe and present head of Ford international markets. “It goes upmarket in precisely the identical approach as the brand new Fiesta,” Farley says.
Additionally like the brand new Fiesta, the 2019 Ford Focus will spawn an Lively variant. Subaru Crosstrek right here we come?
How Ford breaks down the Focus lineup in the USA, after all, is but to be seen. Whereas Ford of Europe will proceed to construct the Focus in Saarlouis, Germany, America’s Focus will sail throughout the Pacific from China.Simply as Ford’s European choice with the newest Fiesta concentrates on extra premium content material bears no resemblance to Ford’s plans for the Fiesta in North America — the previous Fiesta is continuous right here for now; the brand new Fiesta isn’t destined for America — so too Ford’s methodology for Europe’s Focus may differ from the Focus mission in America.
Farley acknowledges transfer upmarket will end in “barely decrease” Focus gross sales sooner or later, however that’s a sacrifice Ford is keen to make as a way to safe its grip on the C-segment. In Europe, Automotive Information says, the Focus is now the fourth-ranked automobile within the class, not simply behind the Volkswagen Golf and Opel Astra however the Golf-related Skoda Octavia, as properly.
Stateside, the getting older Focus has seen its standing plunge as shoppers again regularly again away from vehicles. The Focus is outsold by 5 compact vehicles: Civic, Corolla, Sentra, Cruze, Elantra. Focus gross sales are down 12 % to this point this yr in a class that’s down simply four %. Its market share fell from 12 % in 2012, to 11 % in 2013, to 10 % in 2014, to 9 % in 2015, to eight % in 2016 and to this point in 2017.Farley believes “city utility merchandise” are an space the place the Ford model’s European division is especially sturdy. The diploma to which that message crosses the Atlantic will probably be found as People reject or settle for the brand new EcoSport.
As for shifting the America’s Focus upmarket, it’s a technique that will possible contain axing fashions such because the Focus S. The 2017 Focus S sedan is presently marked all the way down to a decidedly downmarket $14,400.
Throughout the pond, Ford reincarnated the Vignale title with an idea that previewed the Focus CC hardtop convertible. Up to now, whereas the Vignale title has been used on top-spec variations of automobiles such because the Mondeo, Kuga, Edge, S-Max, and now the Fiesta, the Focus has not but acquired the luxurious designation.
[Images: Ford Motor Company]
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Fact About Automobiles and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.web. Comply with on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.