Autocar speaks to Ford's design chief about the new Focus ST

The new Focus ST's look was created after customer feedback on the outgoing version of the car persuaded the company to commit to more extreme styling, according to Ford’s design chief Martin Smith.

Smith spoke exclusively to Autocar about the car’s key features and what direction the company would like to take the Focus in the future.

See pics of the new Focus ST

Read about the new Focus ST

Autocar: What were your main design processes in turning the new Focus into the new performance Focus?

Martin Smith: Design starts with the customer and we knew that the Focus ST customer wanted something less subtle than the standard design, with a more sporty feel. We have been able to achieve that without changing any of the sheetmetal but were still able to design a completely new front end. A new rear bumper, even sportier rocker claddings [side skirts] and a prominent roof-mounted rear spoiler all contribute to the strong overall performance feel.

What are the ST’s standout styling cues?

We have been able to develop new ST brand-specific design cues, including the design of its front spoiler — a new theme featuring spoiler blades canted outwards and sweeping around the front corners and a splitter. A single grille also replaces the standard car’s twin-grille graphic. This combination gives the new ST a very distinct look and the theme is repeated at the rear, with blade-like features in the rear fascia, with grille outlets and a strong kinetic design cue of the central exhaust.

Does the fact that this is a five-door make a difference to the styling cues you can use? No. The number of doors is irrelevant to the areas we have addressed in designing the new Focus ST. It is unusual to have a five-door model, but we believe that because of the inherent sporty design and sleek profile of the standard car, the basic form has adapted well to create a distinctive ST model.

Ford’s motorsport programme is moving away from the Focus to the Fiesta soon. Does that give you more freedom with the Focus and will we see more performance-influenced development of the Fiesta?

Our rally team is now concentrating on the Fiesta due to changing regulations next year. It has no influence on how we will develop the Focus. However, I am sure that seeing the Fiesta in competition will make some people keen to have a performance version.See all the latest Ford reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

Ford Focus 2011-2014
A big seller is the 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel in Zetec trim.

Can the Ford Focus capture the hearts and minds of hatchback buyers?

Join the debate


20 September 2010

Are Ford's customers ugly too?

20 September 2010

Blame the customers- how very chivalrous of Ford.

You'd have thought they'd have learned the customer didn't have a clue after the Edsel. Apparently not.

20 September 2010

I think they took the customer feedback and went the wrong way still looks like a boy racer kit from Ripspeed at Halfords and not even an attractive.

20 September 2010

Mayb Ford are trying to sell the ST to their large existing customer base, not to a small cabal of Autocar forum members?

20 September 2010

[quote Autocar]The new Focus ST's look was created after ESSEX customer feedback on the outgoing version of the car[/quote]

20 September 2010

[quote Lee23404][quote Autocar]The new Focus ST's look was created after ESSEX customer feedback on the outgoing version of the car[/quote][/quote]Haha... are they trying to find excuses in acknowledging that it looks horrible? It doesn't matter who designed it, point is, is that it looks terrible. Maybe a chav in Halfords drew it on the back of a Haynes manual. That grille will really start to get on everyone's nerves. Also, cue the Top Gear jokes about it.

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

20 September 2010

[quote Johnnytheboy]

Mayb Ford are trying to sell the ST to their large existing customer base, not to a small cabal of Autocar forum members?

[/quote] chavs with money you mean?

20 September 2010

It doesnt look to me like they are trying to sell it to anyone - they're obviously trying to put people off it!

20 September 2010

Ford : So Mr ST customer, we are launching a new one soon and we want it to take styling tips from people like you .... our loyal customers .... any ideas what you would like to see on the new version?

Mr ST: Grunt, I would like it to have a vacant and slack jawed look to the front of the car to match my face. Is there anyway you can get it to dribble a bit as well?

Ford : Thanks Mr ST, I am pretty sure we can get it to leak from the intercooler from time to time, we are having to cut some costs in the build .... those bloody yanks don't like good fit and finish in their cars that cost 50% what you dullards, I mean revered customers, pay for your cars over in Euroland.

Mr ST : Grunt, ta muchly mush. Any chance you can put an exhaust on it that looks like one of those special tools you only get to turn 4 screws on a home assembly chest of drawers?

Ford : Special tool indeed. Consider it done Mr ST.

21 September 2010

This is quite possibly the ugliest Ford I care to remember. The front end reminds me of the Mazda 3 and the back looks like some cheap Chrysler or Daewoo reject. The dashboard looks like it was designed by Casio.

The new Focus isn't much of a looker in standard trim either, but they appear to have discarded the best bits of that design. Hope it drives as well as they say, as that would be the only reason I'd go anywhere near it.

I'm sure they'll sell loads, mainly due to the badge on the front. I however wont be buying one; the styling alone is enough to put me off.


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