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Ford Focus, Hatchback, Sedan, Wagon
#91 of 136 What is the Focus supposed to be?
Jan 22, 2007 (6:25 pm)
mschmal asks a great question. What is the Focus supposed to be right now?
Is it a C-class to compete with the Golf/Rabbit/Jetta? e.g., a small family car in the compact class. In size and driving dynamics, the Focus is a Jetta competitor, but not in list or transaction price.
Is it an overgrown B-class to compete with the Hyundai Accent, e.g., a sub-compact car. The B-class in America has a lot of new entrants with the new Accent, Nissan Versa, Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris and updated Chevy Aveo. In transaction price (not list) the Focus competes against these smaller cars.
The new Focus may provide more car and safety than the B-Class competitors, but not higher fuel economy.
Can the Focus image be polished enough to be cool to the young buyers drawn to B-class cars? Or will it only catch the value-conscious who are not image conscious?
How to design the next Focus depends a lot on the answers. If it has to compete in the B-class price range, Ford better build the next Focus somewhere other than high cost countries like the US, Canada or Germany.
Should it be practical as a family car (a C-class attribute) or more geared to the two front seats (a B-class attribute)?
Can the sporting version of the Focus overlap the midsize cousin (the Fusion/Milan) in price? Are Americans willing to pay for sport at the expense of rear seat and trunk room?
Stay with the upright family friendly architecture or go more low slung like the Civic?
How much should fuel economy drive design? Or driving dynamics? Do prospective Focus owners really care about the superior driving dynamics? Corolla gets by with a twist beam rear axle and no one complains. The Civic has no back seat compared to the Focus and no one complains.
Does Ford need a car in between the new (as yet unnamed) B-class and the Fusion? Is it in between in price or in between in size? Features? Fuel economy?
Can Ford afford such model diversity? Complexity is costly. I understand why the Focus model line was trimmed for 2008.
All I know for sure is that while Ford has to save money, saving money by delaying competitive model replacements won't work. Ford can't save its way to profitability. It desperately needs a real and sustained sales hit beyond the F-150. The re-engineered Focus for 2008 is like a defeated army regrouping behind a delaying action. It is not a counter attack. I guess we have to wait for 2009 (the B-class) or 2010 for the new offensive.
Can an independent Ford hang on that long?
At minimum list prices have to move closer to real transaction prices so that people are making real value comparisons. If Ford could point out how much more car for the dollar they are getting with a Focus compared to the B-class price competition (size, driving dynamics and safety especially), they'd have legitimate attributes to market.
#92 of 136 Ford Focus like Charlie Brown
Feb 20, 2007 (4:46 am)
The original Focus became an "everyman's car" like the Charlie Brown of the auto universe. You wanted sporty ? you got the ST ... you wanted a tuner with untility ? you got one of the zippy hatches ... you wanted basic, you got the omnipotent 4 door sedan ... you wanted great utility in one of the last true wagon styles, you got the wagon ... now of course there will be no more wagons or hatches which is a true loss. And further proof Ford continues to lose their way, giving up more of their heritage. For all you auto trivia fans out there ... 9 out of the 10 all time best selling wagons have been Fords.
The '08 Ford seems to be so refined and diluted now. As if the original concept has gone to finishing school and stayed far too long. With only 2 of the original 5 body styles remaining, this is 3 less reasons I wouldn't consider another Foci. The new Focus has lost all the desirability and charm of the original concept and from the outside seems to be just another trick Escort from the '80's. How retro is that ? But at least Ford threw in the great lounge lizard Mustang mood lighting on the dash ... the old Escort barely had a headliner light if I recall ... and we can all play our classic Meatloaf tunes on our in dash MVP players ... "I can see Paradise by the dash board lights... " Ford has always been able to field a good wagon, a good small car, and usually both ideas in one design ... but the '08 Focus isn't going to be one of those cars ... at this time, Ford seems to have definitely lost their way. A real American tragedy. IMHO, of course.
ZXW Robb, owner of the one of the last Foci wagons ... "Big Blue".
#93 of 136 We did well with wagons at my dealer.
Feb 20, 2007 (9:04 am)
but we have an older demographic.
#94 of 136 Re: We did well with wagons at my dealer. [mschmal]
Feb 20, 2007 (3:09 pm)
Demographics ... ah yes, our ages or our cars, to paraphrase a certain song.
Focus groups have found that young stay-at-home moms like the Focus wagon as an alternative to the main family vehicle which tends to be an Explorer or Expedition. Older folks like 'em too as they tend to be less expensive than other small wagons, if I dare say so.
Then there's rogues like myself, who don't fit any category, other than the fact I like the car for what it is. Practical, yet sporty, well optioned & affordable too. Every local Philly area dealer questioned why I wanted a wagon, and kept pushing me towards a Fusion or a Mustang. For me that was the quickest way to lose a sale. I drove down to see "Big Blue" one balmy November Saturday after locating him on line at Bob Davidson Ford, near Baltimore Maryland. The sales manager asked me just once "Do you like the color" as he thought the bright aqua blue metallic might be a tad too "out there". Well, as Bart would say "Au Contraire" !!!
I have owned 3 Focus wagons now, so I guess I'm aging with the wagon set, or perhaps the mommy set. Don't care ! Live free and drive a Ford and screw the demographics !
ZXW Robb, and of course "Big Blue".
Feb 23, 2007 (8:27 pm)
How about design the Focus to fit a baby car seat? When using the latch system, you can't even buckle into either the left or right hand seat in the back. The car seat wobbles violently.
#96 of 136 Wobbly car seat.
Feb 24, 2007 (11:49 am)
If your car seat wobbles, confirm that you put the seat belt into "CAR SEAT MODE" by pulling it completely out then letting it ratchet back. If you don't hear the pawls clicking as the seatbelt retracts, it is not in CAR SEAT MODE.
#97 of 136 Re: Wobbly car seat. [mschmal]
Feb 24, 2007 (7:57 pm)
Awesome! I never thought of that. Does this mean I can get rid of the aggravating clip by using this method when using the seat belt to buckle the baby seat in?
#98 of 136 You still need the clip i bet.
Feb 26, 2007 (4:29 pm)
Sorry, the belt probably needs the clip to fit right
Depends on your seat, if it came with clips, you neeed the clip.
#99 of 136 zetec v. v-tec
Mar 21, 2007 (4:29 pm)
note to ford. if you want the focus to compete with honda v-tecs, which zetec sounds like its supposed to compete with, your sporty version needs to be all sport. e.g. not so quiet: engine vroom vs mechanical whir, high revs and good throttle response, torque is nice but impression shouldn't diminish with rpm, egr system is dumb- i hope not completly necesary for emissions, and trick stuff like the dual-stage intake manifold from the svt.
one little thing: speed sensitive volume knob=dumb. its on my '02 and it can be frustrating. i don't know if its gone yet on new foci or not. if not, it needs to go, just a normal knob is good.
otherwise, focus zx3 is great. keep it around.
08 focus might look a little too korean. go for streety look like the new civic. i hate honda but it does look cool.
#100 of 136 Zetec? thats so 2004.
Mar 22, 2007 (10:00 am)
Since 2005, all Foci come with a Duratec engine either the Duratec 20 or Duratec 23.
vtec tech is so 1994. Vetec only offers 2 cam profiles. Most other car markers, including Ford, use a infinately varible valve timing setup that is computer controlled. For cost reasons though, the Foci does not have VVT. However, all Foci still have more HP than Civics except for the Civic SI.