Goodbye to manual gearboxes, hello small-capacity turbo engines
2 December 2009

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.

See Autocar's artist's impression of the new Ford 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.

Hilton Holloway

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Comments
7

2 December 2009

I hope the next model does look something like this (I don't suppose it will though...) The way the rear side window, rear lights and rear spoiler interact is just like the original model.

2 December 2009

Just do one thing Ford: Let the engineers lead this. Not focus groups (no pun intended) or styling consultants. If you get the fundamental product right, they will sell. I am totally convinced that the main reason Ford has beaten it's US rivals is down to fundamentally sound products that were engineered properly from the start.

2 December 2009

"could result in manual gearboxes “disappearing completely” by 2020."

Oh dear, problem for some forummers who are still getting over the disappearance of the starting handle and semaphore indicators.

2 December 2009

As with not being able to drive without your phone glued to your ear and a Ginsters pastie in your gear shift hand maybe too, eh?

Peter Cavellini.

2 December 2009

[quote sierra]"could result in manual gearboxes “disappearing completely” by 2020."[/quote]

Why, is there to be a compulsory cull of all pre-owned and classic cars too?

PaulJ

2 December 2009

I like the sounds of the plug n play functionality. Does that mean you can buy an upgrade to your centre console at a later date? That would be cool. They'd probably overcharge though, as they always used to when upgrading a cassette deck to CD for £250 when a JVC can be bought and fitted in Halfords for £99... Manual gearboxes disappearing though? Good. I drive one only because it's cheaper/works better than the current auto's in small cars. Why do cars still have a clutch? For those that like to think they're 'enthusiastic drivers' they're proof of skill, but for 99% of the population they're a pain - especially when the clutch goes on a roundabout.

2 December 2009

[quote sierra]

"could result in manual gearboxes “disappearing completely” by 2020."

Oh dear, problem for some forummers who are still getting over the disappearance of the starting handle and semaphore indicators.

[/quote]

Bah humbug, everything went downhill after your servant stopped walking infront of your carriage with a red lantern. Progress? More like making automotive vehicles available for the riff raff who don't understand the pleasures of owning and operating an automotive carriage.

On a serious note - I actually really like a manual gearbox. No auto has ever been in exactly the right gear ratio I wantedat every moment (a cvt has come close!). For that reason I'm happy with a manual.

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