These are the first official pictures of the next-generation Ford Focus. The finer details are hidden within this concept car - to be unveiled at this week's Beijing Motor Show in China - but strip off the big bumpers, flash LED lights and huge 19in alloy wheels and you're left with Ford's best-selling European champion in its second iteration.
Although this is a taster aimed squarely at the Chinese market, the car is fundamentally the same as the European-spec Focus saloon that will arrive in saloon form next spring. The four-door will be preceeded by the three- and five-door hatchbacks that will be launched at the Paris Motor Show in September, before going on sale in the UK on January 1st 2005.
The hatch, which has a more sporting stance than the current car, was scooped by Autocar last September. The engine range includes 79bhp 1.4, 99bhp 1.6, 113bhp 1.8 and 129bhp 2.0 petrol units; diesel offerings run to the 1.6-mand 2.0-litre engines offered in the C-Max.
The car was designed at Ford's European HQ in Cologne. Ford Asia-Pacific design manager Paul Gibson played an 'integral role' in that process said a company spokesman, describing the car as an 'authentic European can with an Asian flavour.'
Ford of Europe boss Lewis Booth idenitified the car as 'number 41' of its '45 new cars in five years' programme, which 'will finish this year'. The Blue Oval will start a new '45 in five' scheme next year, to continue the faster rate of new introductions that it has set in train.
The decision to make the Beijing show the effective world premiere of the Focus underlines the Chinese market's rapidly growing importance.