In the future, Ford is looking to “focus” on the compact car segment. The pun here is intended, as Ford has announced plans to launch 10 vehicles in North America based off of the new Focus’s architecture. In a recent interview with Ford’s marketing boss Jim Farley, the folks at Car & Driver got some insight into these plans.
Along with several obvious Focus variants (like the sedan, as well as a wagon, three and four-door hatchbacks, a coupe and probably both a Ford and Mercury compact crossover), Ford has also announced plans for the new Grand C-Max (pictured above), which will take on cars like the Mazda5. On top of these, Lincoln is likely to get a premium small car along the lines of the C Concept.
Farley outlines Ford’s plan as betting on the growing popularity of the C-segment cars, just as Toyota bet on the mid-size D-Segment over the past two decades, with cars like the Camry, Lexus ES and all their crossover spin-offs. He says Ford believes the downsizing of cars has already begun, promoted by the recent recession and will be aided in the future by gas prices that will once again go up.
“I feel that 20 years from now, an Accord or Camry will feel like a late-1970s domestic car and our global products coming to the U.S. will feel a lot like Hondas used to be,” said Farley.
That’s quite a statement and we don’t doubt Ford’s plan, but the American automaker certainly doesn’t seem ready to give up on larger vehicles with strong products like the Fusion an Taurus. Perhaps, as Farley is Ford’s marketing boss, the Focus will be marketed much like Ford’s EcoBoost engines, which are continuously touted as fuel-sippers, but are really built for high performance. The Focus, therefore, would help Ford promote a small car image, while continuing to sell big in the big car segments.