Ford claims its large-scale production will allow it to drive down the cost of premium car options

Ford is planning to use the huge production numbers of its new global Focus to offer ‘big car’ options — and they could cost up to half what is normally charged for hi-tech features on more upmarket models.

Around two million units per year of the new Focus and its derivatives, developed under the ‘One Ford’ plan, will be sold in more than 120 countries.

See pics of the new Ford Focus in options

Ford claims this large-scale production will allow it to drive down the cost of options usually reserved for premium cars. These include low-speed braking assist, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, blind spot detection, park assist, automatic high beam control and a driver alert warning that detects when a driver is tired.

As an example, the park assist system introduced on the new Focus-based C-Max will cost £275; on the new BMW 5-series it’s a £560 option.

“We can make these systems cheaper as we’re doing it on a global platform with great economies of scale,” said David Weinrauch, a systems engineer in developing the new Focus.

Read the full story on the new Ford Focus

Ford doesn’t expect a huge take-up of many of the options, although Weinrauch said the global trend towards downsizing meant smaller cars had to offer ‘big car’ tech if they were to appeal to buyers. “People will spend more on smaller cars if they get bigger car features and a premium product,” he said.

Ford is also aiming for a refined driving experience in the new Focus, akin to that of premium cars, alongside its extensive options list. A lot of development work has centred on noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels, particularly on diesel models.

“Our diesels are a big step forward in refinement,” said Ralf Heinrichs from the new Focus’s NVH team. “We want passengers to think they’re in a petrol, which is a challenge as diesels knock and are impulsive in their fuel injection.”

Read more on the Ford Focus ST, plus see official pics

As a result, the new 2.0-litre diesel will be seven to eight per cent quieter, thanks to highly tuned fuel injectors, reduced turbo whoosh and improved cabin isolation, including a complete seal between the interior and the engine bay.

Work on petrol models, in particular the new 1.6 Ecoboost, has centred on improving aural feedback. “We’ve developed a sporty growl,” said Heinrichs. “The car is more responsive under full throttle, both aurally and dynamically.”

Mark Tisshaw

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Ford Focus 2011-2014
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Comments
25

2 November 2010

Well it seems like a logical plan. However, there will be a lot of people who still won't want to bother specifying such technology on their Focus. After all, a lot of Focus buyers will simply be upgrading from their current Focus. A lot of them will be bought by fleets. A lot of them will be bought by people who don't really know their cars, like Fiestas are. Lane Departure Warning arrived to this segment with the Citroen C4 six years ago, and people didn't specify it very often then. And a system that monitors when a driver is tired? It may be a safety feature, but the driver obeying such a system is quite another thing. Then of course, there's the "it's another thing to go wrong" argument. They'd be better making the price of metallic paint cheaper and basic options such as the smarter-looking alloy wheels more appealing price-wise, I think. Then again I could be wrong. :)

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

2 November 2010

[quote Mini1]Then again I could be wrong.[/quote]

I think you are right. These options are precisely the sort of technocrap clutter that I can do without. Bought by people who say "wow, my shaver has seven blades!"

These "driver assists" seem based on the premise that the driver is an inattentive moron bereft of the skills needed to drive. How about a sharp probe that rises from the driver's seat when it detects cellphone usage? Or a scanner that directs an arm that slaps your head if you haven't looked in the rear view mirror in the last X seconds (X derived by an algorithm that monitors driving conditions by tracking frequency of gear changes, steering/braking inputs, etc.) The ultimate option will be a driver (perhaps on the next Maybach, if there is one).

2 November 2010

[quote 275not599]I think you are right. These options are precisely the sort of technocrap clutter that I can do without.[/quote]

The key word here is "options" - you do not want, you do not buy.

On Fords own admission they dont expect a huge take up, I think its great that purchasers of "lesser" cars are offered the chance to buy these gadgets should they feel inclined.

I suspect if this was a Volvo launch (whom most of these ideas must be attributed too) then we would all be applauding the launch of such a safety minded vehicle.

2 November 2010

It's a good thing that these features are being developed for non premium cars. However, when the time comes to trade in, these options are not taken into account. Consequently, when the cost of these options is added to the large depreciation of the car, the buyer is going to be seriously out of pocket.

2 November 2010

[quote jonfortwo]

I suspect if this was a Volvo launch (whom most of these ideas must be attributed too) then we would all be applauding the launch of such a safety minded vehicle.

[/quote]Yeah well people often buy Volvos on the premise that they're safe. The Focus is a safe car, but that's not the 'big thing' it's known for, nor is it particularly famous for being technologically advanced. We know they're options... we were just discussing the popularity of the options mentioned in the original article.

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

2 November 2010

I can understand the logic of putting 'big car' options on a car such as Focus in a bid to tempt buyers of larger and more expensive cars to trade down especially as this Focus is going on sale in the US, but Ford have to be aware of the car getting too heavy.

2 November 2010

[quote 275not599]How about a sharp probe that rises from the driver's seat when it detects cellphone usage? Or a scanner that directs an arm that slaps your head if you haven't looked in the rear view mirror in the last X seconds (X derived by an algorithm that monitors driving conditions by tracking frequency of gear changes, steering/braking inputs, etc.)[/quote]

And how about system that override the driver when the car wants to drive for it's own pleasure?

2 November 2010

They mention cutting the cost of these big car options but how will it hinder reliability if such options are copied then made cheaply by ford, for example the TDCI engines some are made by PSA then dumped in the Focus then the EGR valve is stripped of its hardened steel gears fitted by PSA and replaced by a much cheaper nylon gears hence why they break up and the car brakesdown.

BMW may charge a premium for their options but it mayb expensive because it works and should last the lfetime of the car, what good is an option that is half the BMW price but only lasts 3 to 4 years before it brakes and is into the ford dealers being mended

2 November 2010

[quote rhw0104]what good is an option that is half the BMW price but only lasts 3 to 4 years before it brakes[/quote]

Well, seeing as most people only keep a car 3-4 years, that's not really a problem to the original owner, is it? Or am I being cynical?

Everyone expects things to break on a secondhand car, even if you're only the second owner...

2 November 2010

It doesn't matter what options are in the Focus in the west coast of Scotland as they're mainly sold by the one group of dealers. Even under different names. My brother tried to buy an ST from them, and it wasn't a pleasent experience. One woman wanted a "commitment" from him before he could get a test drive!

Eventually he was able to buy from one branch, and we thought that was fine. Only later did we discover they'd not fitted one of the optional extras to the car, one he felt was essential (Bluetooth). It took about six months to get them to fix the car!

So until Ford ditch their current dealer network it's impossible to buy from them.

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