AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
With 305 turbocharged horsepower the Focus RS might just have been the ultimate hot-hatch. Now, for the first time, Ford has confirmed it will have a successor, arriving in late 2013 or early 2014 with at least 350-hp while sticking to its front-wheel-drive strategy.
Gunnar Hermann, Ford’s global chief of small cars, has gone on the record stating that the new Focus RS could create more power than even the limited edition RS500 model, which produced 350-hp from the turbocharged 5-cylinder engine borrowed from Volvo. It’s unlikely Ford will continue to use the Volvo-sourced engine and according to Herrmann engineers are working on extracting more power from the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that will power the Focus ST, which is set to make 247-hp.
According to Herrmann the new Focus RS will continue to be a front-drive model and will use a similar suspension setup to the previous model, which allowed for such a high amount of power to be effectively transmitted through the front wheels.
Now only one question remains: will this Focus RS finally make it to our shores?
[Source: Sydney Morning Herald]
All four sound clips are hosted on YouTube and feedback on their comments page will be used by Ford to help choose a sound. If you want to voice your opinion on what obnoxious sound you’ll be hearing from Ford’s Ford electric vehicle – as mandated by law – head on over to their page and put in your vote.
American consumers are buying more four-cylinder vehicles than ever before. According to research by IHS Automotive, 43 percent of all new cars delivered in the U.S in the first half of 2011, were powered by four-cylinders. In 2005, 43 percent of all new cars in the U.S were powered by sixes. The remaining 57 percent of cars sold in the US this year were six, eight and twelve cylinder engines.
Just a few years ago when gas was cheaper, four cylinders were destined the domain of economy cars. By contrast, one of every three new cars was powered by a V8 in 2005, but in 2011, that figure fell to one of every six vehicles.
While fuel efficiency is a top priority when consumers buy new cars, that’s only part of the story. As technology improves, four cylinder engines are cheaper, more reliable, and more powerful then ever before. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder in a compact Ford Contour in 1999 produced 120-hp getting 19/28 city/highway mpg. By contrast, the 2011 Ford Focus 160-hp and gets as much as 40 mpg on the highway.
German tuner MR Car Design has transformed Ford‘s Focus RS into a viable contender to Audi‘s RS3 and BMW‘s 1-Series M. Taking one of Europe’s most popular hot hatches, MR Car Design pushes out 355-hp out of the turbocharged 5-cylinder engine, a 54-hp increase from the factory 301-hp. The enhanced performance comes courtesy of an ECU reflash, MR Car Design downpipe and exhaust, high-flow catalytic converter and a K&N air filter.
In addition, MR Car Design combines its horsepower increase with a slight diet for the Focus RS. No details on the weight loss were specified but MR Car Design claims its Focus RS will blitz to 62-mph in 5.9 seconds. Other upgrades include r a set of KW V1 coilovers.
No pricing was announced, but does it really matter… the closest we get to the RS on this side of the Atlantic is the new Focus ST.
GALLERY: MR Car Design Ford Focus RS
The success of the Ford Fiesta brings with it another trend—the revival of the hatchback, long-derided in America as being cheap without the cheerfulness.
The Fiesta has dominated the small car segment below the Focus. Consumers are trading in their larger vehicles, even including the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, in response to increased gas prices. Ford claimed 19 percent of the C-class segment in December; January sales have put it in second place with Hyundai, against Nissan’s Versa.
And at the core of this success is the Fiesta 5-door, which is riding the surge of popularity in hatchbacks reports Ward’s Auto. “We’re now selling 5-door (SE trim levels) in volume now,” said Jim Farley, vice president of global marketing. “The price is more in the low end of the C-segment.”
Hatchbacks have traditionally been shunned in America because of their perceived cheapness and lack of security compared to a trunk; perhaps too many bad memories of tinny Hyundai Excels and blue-smoking Ford Aspires from high school are fueling the prejudice. Even Volkswagen, whose Jetta consistently outpaces sales of the Golf in America (and nowhere else) could have told Ford that.
Likewise, Ford had initially predicted that the Fiesta sedan would be the volume seller; yet demand was 50/50 once production started. And as of this week, sales of the hatchback trumped those of the sedan, at 55%. “The research didn’t tell us that,” said Farley.
If sales of the hatchback continue outperforming those of the sedan, this will give Ford valuable insight into consumer preferences in the small car segment—just in time for the new Focus to roll out, later this season.
[Source: Wards Auto]
The 2012 Ford Focus is being eagerly awaited by those looking to buy a car in the C-segment of the market, which includes cars like the Hyundai Elantra and the Chevrolet Cruze. However, if you want to achieve the claimed 40-mpg fuel rating, you’ll have to choose the Focus SE SFE (Super Fuel Economy) model.
While all Elantra’s can achieve 40-mpg, the most efficient Cruze on the market is the Eco model, which can achieve 42-mpg.
The Focus SE SFE does fare well against its main rivals, while the rest of the Focus range is not quite as thrifty to run. Normal Focus models can achieve 38-mpg on the highway and 28-mpg in the city. That is a combined average of just 31-mpg with the automatic version, you’ll lose an extra mile worth of driving per gallon if you opted to buy a manual version.
So while the new Focus might not be the most frugal car in its segment, it’s not bad, and considering its attractive styling, features and models, we are sure it will find plenty of owners.
The Land Down Under just got some exciting news from Ford. Even though production is coming to an end, Australia will be gifted with 315 Ford Focus RS models in a limited edition production and available in three different colors.
“Customers, the motoring press, Ford enthusiasts and hot hatch fans have all been constantly asking us about Focus RS and when it might be coming to Australia, so we’re very pleased and incredibly excited to be able to confirm for everyone today that it’s on its way and will be here soon,” Ford Australia President & CEO Marin Burela said.
Available for close to $55,000 U.S., the Ford Focus RS is no cheap hatchback, but it’s definitely one hot hatch. Powered by a 2.5L inline-five turbocharged engine, the Focus RS pushes out 300-hp and 295 ft-lbs of torque. As mentioned before, the 315 buyers will be able to choose from Ultimate Green, Performance Blue and Frozen White as color choices.
And for those still looking for more info on the car, the interior sports Recaro seats and most of your standard run-of-the-mill amenities including six-disc CD player and eight-speaker Sony audio system.
GALLERY: Australian Ford Focus RS
The Ford Focus RS500 debut has been a little interesting, to say the least. Ford had built a new website, teasing the release of the car over several days. They claim however that the website was “hacked” and the official (and enticing) photos of the Ford Focus RS500 were released 48 hours early. Perhaps it was a truly intentional (and brilliant) marketing ploy, but word spread quickly and now it appears the Ford Focus RS500 is already sold out – with a limited run of 500 units – before official pricing has even been announced.
While the Focus wasn’t exactly a hot car on the Stateside, its appeal over in Europe is extraordinary. Claims of the Focus RS selling as a used vehicle for more than its purchase price isn’t unheard of. And with the rarity of the RS500 and its menacing good looks, it’s no surprise that the RS500 already has such great appeal within the UK market, nevermind the rest of Europe. The RS500 also marks the end of the current-gen Ford Focus RS production; so there’s a little bit of a nostalgic factor there.
For those that didn’t keep up with all the “web-hacking” and premature debut of the Focus RS500, the limited-edition vehicle sports 345-hp and 339 ft-lbs of torque, an increase of 45-hp and 14 ft-lbs from a mundane RS. The Matte Black style highlights the exterior with race-inspired red accents on the brake calipers and throughout the interior. And much like Acura’s Integra Type-R, each RS500 sports a numbered plaque on the center console.
[Source: Autocar UK]
Gallery: Ford Focus RS500
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.
High Performance Vehicle Boss Confirms The Sad News
Several weeks ago we ran a few photos of a Ford Focus RS that was spotted in a suburb of Detroit. This of course led to speculation that FoMoCo was planning to bring its amazing hot hatch to the U.S.
Sadly, a Ford exec has confirmed that the RS will not make its way stateside. And to kill any hope for those still holding on to it, the executive just so happens to be Jost Capito, the new head of Ford’s global performance division.
Capito told the U.K.’s AutoCar that, “We’d like to, but the base car isn’t homologated for North America and that’s too costly a job to carry out just for a niche vehicle like the RS.”
That means North American consumers will continue to miss out on the aggressively styled Focus, which boasts a turbocharged five-cylinder engine with 295hp and 302 ft-lbs of torque.
Ford will spend $550 million to transform it’s Michigan truck plant into a facility that bill be used to built the new Ford Focus, including an electric version of that vehicle.
By transforming the Michigan Trunk Plant into a compact car facility as many as 3,200 jobs will be saved as demand for large SUVs declines. The Truck Plant was the location where behemoths such as the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator were manufactured.
The all new Focus will begin production next year with an electric version of the compact car due out in 2011. This zero-emissions Focus is being built in partnership with Magna International and will be powered by an electric motor mated to a Lithium-Ion battery pack and can be charged though a conventional household outlet.
Ford has made a commitment to bring three more EVs to market by 2012.
“The transformation of Michigan Assembly Plant embodies the larger transformation under way at Ford,” said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally. “This is about investing in modern, efficient and flexible American manufacturing. It is about fuel economy and the electrification of vehicles. It is about leveraging our expertise and vehicle platforms around the world and partnering with the UAW to deliver best-in-class global small cars. It is about skilled and motivated teams working together in new ways to create the future of automobile manufacturing in the United States.”
Along with the Michigan plant, Ford will transform its Louisville, KY plant to also produce the new Focus, as well as modify the company’s Cuautitlan Assembly in Mexico, where the new Fiesta is to be produced.
“We’re changing from a company focused mainly on trucks and SUVs to a company with a balanced product lineup that includes even more high-quality, fuel-efficient small cars, hybrids and all-electric vehicles,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas. “As customers move to more fuel-efficient vehicles, we’ll be there with more of the products they really want.”
Official release after the jump:
Rumors that hot-hatch headed for U.S. may be true after all
Stoking the rumors that Ford is planning to bring its impressive Focus RS to the U.S. are some amateur spy photos of the hopped-up compact, taken just outside Detroit.
Forum user 2004SVTAutoXer took the photos in the up-scape Royal Oak neighborhood and posted them on FocusFanatics.com.
The 2009 Focus RS is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter Duratec five-cylinder engine with 295hp and 302 ft-lbs of torque. It also makes use of a Quaife limited slip differential and a unique-to-the-RS suspension setup.
Ford has already declared that it will bring it’s European Fiesta to the United States and while it is possible that a Focus RS may eventually make it over as well, it is unlikely in the current economic climate. Ford may, however, be planning for a turnaround in the economy and with Chrysler’s future uncertain and GM cutting its high-performance division, Ford might be the only post-recession U.S. automaker capable of delivering a compact performance car.
GALLERY: Ford Focus RS
The pure electric cars are expected to achieve 100 miles on a single charge. Then in 2012 Ford will deliver a plug-in hybrids of both the Fusion and Focus.
Ford also announced that the four cylinder all-new Fusion will deliver 34 mpg, making the Fusion the most fuel-efficient mid-sized sedan and mid-sized hybrid sedan.
Official release after the jump: