The all-new Ford Focus will arrive in showrooms in early 2011 with the aim of finally dethroning the Volkswagen Golf as western Europe’s best-selling car, according to company sources.
The new Focus won’t just be a key player in Europe, either; it’s set to become a global car, to be sold in North America. The US version will be unveiled at the Detroit show in January, before the European car.
The new Focus will go on sale after the launch of the recently unveiled C-Max five and seven-seat MPVs, the first models based on what Ford sources call “an all-new, global platform”.
The production version of the C-Max, to be built in Spain, is set to be launched at next September’s Paris show. The seven-seat version is heading for the US along with the Focus.
Design sources say Ford is going to make the new Focus much sportier and more coupé-like than the current model.
“The hatchback Focus will be relatively lower and sportier than the C-Max you saw at the Frankfurt show,” said our insider. “The important point is that there will be much more differentiation in terms of the relative stance and the H-point between the hatches and C-Max than on the current models.”
The H-point is designer shorthand for the position of the driver’s hip point, which in practice means that the upcoming three and five-door Focus hatchbacks will have lower seating positions and markedly low-roofed styling.
The Focus’s chassis is also likely to be more sportily tuned than that of the C-Max, which is aimed at families and older drivers who appreciate the higher seating position.
The Focus will also get its own interior design theme, with the dash angled towards the driver to deliver more of a cockpit-like feel.
The new Focus will be powered by a new range of ‘Ecoboost’ downsized turbocharged petrol engines.
“The plan is for all our petrol cars to have smaller-capacity, direct-injection turbocharged engines,” said one source. “We especially have to meet the average CO2 target figure that has been set in the European Union, but downsized turbocharged engines are already proving popular in North America as well.”
One casualty of the move to greater fuel efficiency will be the five-cylinder Volvo-derived engine that powers today’s Focus ST. The next generation of the model is likely to be powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-pot, which can develop as much as 276bhp.
Aside from its range of diesel engines, Ford is working on a new range of super-frugal three-cylinder turbo petrol units, with capacities “much smaller than 1.6 litres”.
These engines are likely to be sized around 1.0 and 1.2 litres and are expected to become more popular when tough EU emissions rules make diesel engines increasingly expensive. A number of makers (including Renault and Nissan) are working on similar powerplants because the upcoming EU5 and EU6 emissions regs will force expensive de-pollution kit to be fitted to diesels.
This move will make small diesels too expensive to be fitted to superminis and many cheaper Focuses. Ford hopes that the three-pot petrol motors will offer the performance and fuel economy of a typical small diesel.