The man who oversees Ford’s global family of C-segment cars has given a tantalising glimpse of the Focus of the future.
Speaking to Automotive Engineer magazine, Gunnar Herrmann predicted that by the end of this decade the manual transmission may disappear from the range altogether. He also raised the possibility of a turbocharged and electrically assisted two-cylinder Focus.
Herrmann said the third-generation Focus will be based on a version of the EUCD platform that underpins the current S-Max and Mondeo.
One if the biggest gains from this will be the adoption of an electrical architecture that will allow the ‘plug and play’ introduction of advanced, executive-level features on Focus-size models.
The car’s structure will still be made from steel, but more use will be made of hot-formed and boron steels, which are lighter and stronger than conventional steels.
Hermann also revealed that stop-start systems will be “virtually standard” within five years, and that small-displacement two and three-cylinder turbocharged engines will be available before the end of the decade.
Electrical assistance will be offered to cut emissions and improve acceleration.
Herrmann suggested that dual-clutch transmissions — which aid fuel-efficient driving — could result in manual gearboxes “disappearing completely” by 2020.
However, it is the introduction of advanced electrical systems that will make the biggest difference to future Focus drivers.
Driver-adjustable adaptive dampers, lane departure warning systems and traffic sign recognition will all become much more common. Electric power steering systems could incorporate an anti-torque steer feature, too.
In-car internet is on the way, as are more sophisticated connectivity systems for mobile phones as Focus-family cars aim to offer the electrical sophistication of today’s premium luxury models.