When the Ford Focus first went on sale in the US, it was a rare glimpse for the still-SUV-centric US market at how the rest of the world gets from the Blue Oval. Of course, as time went by, Ford eased away from the Euro-funk of the first generation, first blandifying the model with a mid-cycle “refresh,” before eventually replacing it with the current embarrassment to the nameplate. And it’s not just the current model’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers-meets-Pep Boys look that makes it unworthy of the Focus name: the whole idea behind the original Focus was the dream of a world car, that would be sold, largely unchanged, in markets around the world. With the 2012 model, now being previewed before the Detroit Auto Show [press release here], Ford has gone back to the model’s original vision.
There’s no special American-market version, though the four-door sedan and five-door hatch will be the first to our market. Only a two-liter engine has been confirmed so far, reportedly equipped with stop-start and making 155 hp and 145 lb-ft (1.6 Ecoboost and EV versions could come later). A three-door hatch and a larger station wagon could come to the US later, as could the C-Max minivan built on the same global C-platform. Between all these bodystyles (and likely more for Europe), Ford is eying 2m units of global volume for its global C-segment platform by 2012, making the Focus family something of the global K-car of Ford’s turnaround. Ford claims that this whack at the “Holy Grail” of world-car unification will turn out better than the last several, as design and performance expectations are aligning globally. It’s worked fairly well with the Fiesta so far, but as with the Focus, the important piece of the puzzle is making the model work in the US. We shall see how that works out.