The limited edition Ford Focus RS500 effectively sold out within 12 hours of being revealed, even though prices haven't been announced yet.
According to a Ford insider, this extraordinary situation occured despite Ford being forced to unveil the car almost 48 hours earlier than planned, meaning dealers were not aware of its existence.
Ford set up a website to tease the unveiling of the car over several days. However, the website was hacked, and the official pictures released 48 hours early.
"From that moment on people were literally walking into dealers or calling them up and placing orders for the car," said the Ford insider. "However, because we had to quickly bring the car's launch forward we hadn't even briefed the dealers on its existence. It led to some quite confused phone calls between dealers and head office."
Ford is now sifting through the expressions of interest from customers to ascertain allocations for dealers, ahead of order books formally opening in May.
The insider said more than 500 expressions of intent to purchase were taken within the UK alone, but confirmed the car will be sold throughout Europe. He added that the interest was enhanced by the residual values of the standard car, which is continuing to sell secondhand for more than its new purchase price.
The Ford Focus RS500 is a limited-edition 500 car run of a 345bhp version of the hot hatch.
Made to mark the end of the current generation Focus RS's production, it gets more power and torque than a standard RS and bespoke interior trim.
The five-cylinder engine has been given improved induction kit and a revised exhaust system, which help to add an extra 45bhp to the standard car’s 300bhp. Torque goes up from 325lb ft to 339lb ft.
These modifications reduce the car’s 0-62mph time from 5.9 to 5.6sec. Ford isn’t quoting in-gear acceleration, but expect the most noticeable changes to come during from 30-50mph in third. Top speed stays the same at 163mph.
The car’s exterior is finished in a matt black paint unique to the RS500. Standard gloss black paint is applied in the factory, and then he cars are shipped to coatings specialist 3M’s site near Frankfurt, where a matt film is laid over the top. The gloss paint is retained on the lower grille and splitter, the rear spoiler and the rear diffuser. Brake calipers are finished in red.
Inside the cars have red detailing instead of the RS’s blue, and a plaque on the centre console with the car’s edition number.