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.
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