The next-generation Mk4 Ford Focus is likely to retain the fastback silhouette of today's car as Ford decides what direction to take its best-selling model in.

The firm's global product development boss Rak Nair says the design direction of the next-generation Focus, which will launch in 2017, is still under discussion. However, Nair said at the launch of the heavily revised current Focus at the Geneva show last week that the “sleek look of a coupé” presented by today’s model will be seen “for quite some time”.

Nair acknowledged that the Focus’s success - it’s currently the best-selling car on the planet - might lead Ford to reconsider its usual policy of refreshing a long-established model with a significantly altered look.

Instead of decisively breaking from the past, as today’s Fiesta did compared with its predecessor, the fourth-generation Focus could follow an evolutionary path, in a way similar to that adopted by Volkswagen for the development of the Golf.

Nair believes that design is still crucial. “Owners talk about rational reasons for purchase, but a fair percentage buy for emotional reasons like styling,” he said. He also believes that the grille design seen on the new Focus is now “taking root”. 

Ford is also planning to refresh its Focus line-up with a new diesel version of the Focus ST.