Ford's European boss Stephen Odell has remained tight-lipped over the prospect of new Ford Focus RS. The Blue Oval's European boss quashed rumours that the business case for a third-generation version of the quickest, most powerful Focus has been signed off.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” he told Autocar. “It’s great that we have a proud past with RS, and it’s clear it has acted as a halo product and a way of linking to our racing programmes, but for now there is nothing to say.”

Speculation that a new RS is imminent was first ignited last year, although such a move would mark a major shift for Ford after years of focusing on mass-market models and volume production.

It is understood the business case for the new RS would allow it to sit alongside the all-new Ford Mustang, which goes on sale in the UK at the start of next year. One concern is that a new Focus RS could cannibalise sales of both the Mustang and the Focus ST, although Autocar understands that the results of customer focus groups showed that not to be the case.

If Ford did create an RS version of the third-generation Focus, it would likely use a 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, tuned to around 330bhp. That same engine also features in the Mustang.

Odell confirmed that the new Mondeo would finally be launched in Europe late this year after three years of delays. A plush new Vignale trim will be offered from 2015, and Odell believes “stretching the Mondeo brand up is very achievable". He added: "We don’t expect Vignale to allow us to take customers off BMW, but it will put us on more consideration lists.”