2015 Ford Focus Sedan is fresh-faced and ready to defend its Most Popular crownWed, 09 Apr 2014
Ford has made an art of deeper-than-normal midlife updates since the 2010 Fusion, a strategy that has allowed it to keep models looking fresher in showrooms for longer without needing full redesigns. Instead of slight touchups to light fixtures, new paint colors and perhaps new wheel patterns, Ford has been digging deeper, with significant sheetmetal changes and very different front-end looks, along with an increased emphasis on new in-car technologies to keep models vibrant. Other automakers are following this trend, and Ford itself is continuing on the path with this new 2015 Focus Sedan.
We first saw this sleek Aston Martin-like nose fitted to a Focus at the Geneva Motor Show last month, but Ford only showed the new look on the five-door hatchback – this is the first appearance of the sedan, which will bow at next week's New York Auto Show. The front end treatment is the same, with a new hood, new headlamps incorporating LED accents, a different grille shape and a completely revised lower fascia that does away with the 2014 model's controversial triangle-shaped corners and gaping intakes. The rear gets a new two-piece, laser-brazed trunk lid with new taillamps, but the overall look is quite similar to last year's car. In any case, the refreshed look brings the Focus sedan more in line with the design of Ford's other recently reworked cars, including the Fusion and Fiesta.
There's a handsome new SE Sport Package that includes a firmer touring suspension, modest body kit and 17-inch wheels.
For fans of sportier looking models that can't quite afford or justify splurging on the Focus ST, there's a handsome new SE Sport Package that includes a firmer touring suspension, modest body kit and 17-inch wheels. SE Sports equipped with Ford's optional dual-clutch gearbox also receive paddle shifters.
The 2015 model year changeover also brings with it the same spunky 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine recently made available in the Fiesta. It's available exclusively with a six-speed manual transmission, but so far, Ford isn't spilling the beans on power or fuel economy figures.
Other key mechanical refinements include revamped electric power steering tuning with a stiffer mount and redone programming. Ford's global product development czar, Raj Nair, tells us that the goal is to offer "more steering feel" and improve "off-center precision, with a more linear torque buildup." In addition, the suspension has been retuned with new shock valving and bushings with the goal of delivering a quieter ride and improved control. The dual-clutch clutch gearbox has had its software code poured over again as well, in a bid to increase refinement.
The interior gets a whole host of small but meaningful improvements, including fundamentals like resculpted seats and a revamped center console and cupholders. New creature comforts include an available heated steering wheel and a revamped Sync voice command system with connected apps.
Ford will roll out a revamped version of its slow-selling Focus Electric alongside this sedan in New York, and the 2015 Focus ST should follow this summer.
On the safety front, rearview cameras become standard, and for the first time, active safety features including blind-spot detection and lane-keeping assist will be available, with the latter's warnings coming through haptic feedback from the steering wheel.
For the second year in a row, Ford is crowing about its Focus holding the title of "World's Best-Selling Nameplate." That may not be the sexiest title to wear on a sash, but it's a very important one to the Blue Oval and its bottom line. Globally in 2013, Focus sales were up by 8.1 percent to 1,097,618 according to Polk registration data, and the model has a lot of momentum, particularly in China, where registrations were up over 50 percent just last year. Here at home, however, the Focus' recent sales picture hasn't been quite as rosy, with the model suffering declines along with most of the rest of the C-segment. These new updates should go some way toward reversing that trend at home while solidifying the car's fortunes abroad.
Ford will roll out a revamped version of its slow-selling Focus Electric alongside this sedan in New York, and the high-performance 2015 Focus ST should follow sometime this summer before deliveries commence later this year.
Ford Reveals All-New Focus Sedan, Retains World's Best-Selling Nameplate Title for 2013
Ford Focus ranks as the best-selling vehicle nameplate in the world, based on just-released Polk new vehicle registration data for the 2013 calendar year
Focus gains momentum with 50 percent sales growth in Chinese market
New Focus four-door sedan globally unveiled, featuring leading combination of technology, fuel economy and power
DEARBORN, Mich., April 9, 2014 – Ford Focus retains its title as world's best-selling vehicle nameplate for 2013, according to Ford analysis of the just-released full-year Polk new vehicle registration data from IHS Automotive. The news comes as a new Focus four-door sedan prepares to make its debut at next week's 2014 New York International Auto Show.
Registrations of the compact Focus were up 8.1 percent with 1,097,618 cars sold worldwide last year. That compares with global Focus sales of 1,014,965 in 2012.
Market gains for Focus continue to be driven by consumer demand in China. China registrations were up 50 percent in 2013 to 403,219 vehicles, up from 268,354 vehicles in 2012. China now is responsible for just more than one out of three Focus vehicles sold globally, based on Polk data.
The debut of the new Focus four-door sedan and the Focus Electric in New York follows the Geneva Motor Show debut in March of the Focus three- and five-door hatchback and wagon. A new version of the performance Focus ST will be shown later this year.
The redesigned Ford Focus offers a bolder exterior design, a more intuitive and upscale interior, a host of technologies uncommon for a compact car and the additional powertrain option of Ford's award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost® engine with a new six-speed manual transmission in the U.S.-spec Focus. While U.S. EPA fuel economy ratings are not yet available, Ford expects the 1.0-liter EcoBoost Focus to raise the bar in fuel efficiency among non-hybrid compact vehicles.
For 2015, Focus adds an SE Sport Package, which includes new body treatments, paddle shifters (requires automatic transmission), a revised touring suspension, 17-inch black gloss aluminum wheels and P215/50 HR-17 tires.
The paddle shift feature provides drivers an additional element of control by allowing them to simulate the manual gear selection aspects of a manual transmission and extract more power from their engines.
Also notable for 2015, Ford's popular MyKey® feature will be standard on all trim levels. An all-new heated steering wheel will be available as well as 10 different wheels as factory options.
"It is remarkable to see Focus again lead the industry as the No. 1-selling vehicle nameplate on the planet," said Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president, Ford Motor Company Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln. "With the new car, we've raised the bar again, showcasing Ford's commitment to continuous improvement – adding better technology for drivers and a sleeker, more modern exterior across the entire Focus family."
While the latest Focus is essentially the same worldwide, color preference varies. In the U.S. market, Sterling Gray is the most popular at 21 percent of sales, with Tuxedo Black second at 15 percent. In China, Crystal Solid White is overwhelmingly the most popular with just more than 50 percent of sales. Candy Red is second at 17 percent.
Fiesta world's best-selling subcompact
Ford's analysis of Polk new vehicle registrations also confirms Ford Fiesta earned the top spot as the best-selling subcompact car globally, with 735,299 registrations for 2013.
Together, registrations of Ford's small cars – Fiesta and Focus – totaled 1,832,917 vehicles last year, which is a 4.3 percent increase from 2012.
Award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost
In addition to a host of styling and technology advances, the new Focus will offer the efficient, fun-to-drive 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine with a six-speed manual transmission. Automotive journalists globally named it International Engine of the Year for 2012 and 2013.
"The 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine is proof that excellent fuel economy and performance can come in one package," said Raj Nair, group vice president, Ford Global Product Development. "Focus is already known for bringing together efficiency and fun, and our latest offering will bring consumers a whole new level of enjoyment – on the road and in what they'll save at the pump."
The smallest engine in Ford's growing EcoBoost family – already available in Fiesta - will come standard in Focus with an Auto Start-Stop feature that automatically shuts down the engine at stops and instantly turns it back on at takeoff.
EcoBoost technology combines smaller-displacement engines with turbocharging, direct injection, variable valve timing and proprietary Ford software to bring customers outstanding performance and fuel economy. Ford EcoBoost engines can deliver significantly better fuel economy than larger-displacement gasoline engines.
New Focus customers also will enjoy a quieter ride, achieved by thicker carpets and side window glass and improved engine-bay insulation.
Stylish new Focus
The new Focus arrives with a bolder look. It features a restyled hood and grille, signature LED lighting for headlamps and taillamps, new rear lamp clusters and a restyled trunk lid. Four-door and five-door versions will be available in the United States.
Inside, colors and materials have a clean, modern look, with satin chrome detailing, new seat trims and switches, and an available heated steering wheel. A new center console incorporating adjustable cupholders improves storage capacity.
A package of sensors brings a new level of convenience for compact car customers by adding driver-assist technologies, including a rear view camera, available Blind Spot Information System and a lane-keeping system.
Standard on Focus for the first time, the rearview camera will appear on either a 4.2-inch screen or the 8-inch screen that comes with MyFord Touch®-equipped cars.
BLIS® uses two advanced multiple-beam radar modules, the same used with cross-traffic alert, which are packaged in both rear quarter panels. The radar identifies when a vehicle enters the defined blind spot zone and illuminates an indicator light on the corresponding sideview mirror, providing a warning that a vehicle is approaching.
Should a Focus driver start to drift out of the current lane without a turn signal activated, the lane-keeping system provides a warning through a series of steering wheel vibrations that mimic a rumble strip. If the unintended lane departure is not corrected by the driver, the aid function of the system actively applies steering to help the driver direct the car back toward the center of the current lane.
The new Focus benefits from advancements in exterior styling, interior design, powertrain and technology, as well as suspension and chassis upgrades.
These include a new shock absorber valve design providing improved interior quietness, and a change to the rear suspension to give drivers a more connected feel to the road. The electric power-assisted steering has been retuned to make the driver feel even more connected to the road.
Enhanced SYNC AppLink
Focus drivers will have access to powerful new capabilities thanks to a host of functions developers can integrate as they modify their apps to communicate with enhanced SYNC® AppLink™.
Android and iOS smartphone users can download more than 60 AppLink-enabled apps from the Apple App Store and Android market.
New functions include:
Connected apps can access a variety of real-time vehicle data such as speed, acceleration, odometer and location information that can be used by the app to further customize and personalize the owner experience. For example, access to the in-vehicle GPS signal can enable more precise and accurate location-based services than phone sensors
More consistent user experience thanks to voice pass-through capability. This enables developers to use on-device or cloud-based voice-recognition systems to evaluate driver commands, meaning drivers can use the same set of voice commands to control an app when connected to the vehicle as they would use when not connected
Notifications read aloud as a driver enters the car, with no need to touch the phone. Best of all, alerts are available any time a mobile device is connected to SYNC AppLink, even if the app is not currently active. This means a driver could get an alert about a traffic jam ahead while listening to the radio or using another app
Ford builds the Focus in eight manufacturing plants on four continents. Facilities in Germany, the United States, Russia, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan and Argentina have a combined capacity to build more than 1.5 million Focus cars annually at a rate of more than two per second.
Since the launch of Focus in 1998, the best-selling vehicle nameplate in the world for two years running has sold more than 12 million vehicles globally.
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By Chris Paukert
See also: Total auto recalls already on record pace in 2014, Formula Drift kicks off 11th season on Streets of Long Beach, Ford recalls 434k vehicles for several unrelated issues.