By on January 11, 2010

2012 Ford Focus

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.

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45 Comments on “Ford Doubles Down On The World Car With 2012 Focus...”


  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    I like it.  When I bought my last new car (a Honda Fit) I stopped by a Ford dealer to look at a Focus.  I just couldn’t do it.  I didn’t even ask for a test drive.  Higher sticker, lower mileage and not a significant increase in room.  It just screamed “Hey, I bought a cheap car, everyone!”  I am sure that I paid more out the door for my Fit Sport, but it has been a hoot to drive and a joy to own.  Other than disappointment in the gas mileage, I am as happy with the car as it is possible to be.
    If this new Focus had been in the showroom when I was shopping, I would have taken my wife for a test drive and seriously added it to the list of cars being considered.
    This car will likely wallop both the Cruze and the aging Caliber, and make inroads on some of the others (maybe even the revised Fit, which I think has lost a lot of its charm), at least if it drives and feels as nice as it looks in the photos.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    The last place I drove the current Focus was in Lithuania, as a rental, a year ago. I could see Russia from there and I don’t mean in the Palin sense. I liked the Focus pretty much (since my daily driver isn’t a 911, I’m not spoilt like Capt Mike). And I was thinking, if they don’t have to decontent it for Lithuania, why do they water it down for America? I’m glad they’ve decided on one Focus. One world, one Focus, one jelly doughnut!

  • avatar
    Philip Riegert

    I might just save up my money for a focus RS :)

  • avatar
    greenb1ood

    I HATE the current Focus, but I have the 2005 Volvo S40 T5 based on the C1 architecture that underpins the current Euro Focus as well as this new refresh.  If Ford’s new Focus feels like I’m driving my Volvo during the test drive…one will be in my driveway with SYNC.  Book it Ford.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    I’d drive that

  • avatar
    brettc

    Nice looking car. I like the hatchback version better than the Fiesta. I couldn’t tell if it has red or amber turn rear signals, but I hope Ford didn’t pull a VW (A4 Jetta wagon) and kept the European tail lights. If Ford would sell this with 3 pedals and one of their TDCi engines, I might buy one of these over a Golf or Golf wagon.

  • avatar
    trucosm

    to be a grumpy skeptic, the Americans who want to drive a “world car” are the ones who drive 3-series, Fit/Jazz, VW, etc.   They don’t buy Fords.
    Nevertheless, hope Ford learned from its past mistakes, succeeds and avoids Mondeo II.
     
     

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Wow…it’s hideous.
     
    Ford clearly tried to incorporate many different design languages and came up with a mis-mash design.  And from the side, it looks like a two year old Astra (hatch).
     
    This car will not stop the Corolla and Civic  from outselling the Focus by 15K+ units a month.

    • 0 avatar
      jpcavanaugh

      Fortunately, you will have the Cruze.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      While the Cruze will be a better car…I have no desire to drive a small car.  I like proper vehicles (V8, RWD) far too much.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The Cruze will be a better car than the Focus? Is this the same Cruze that has failed to best the current-generation European Focus?

      The brutal truth is that the Cruze has debuted in several markets, and has earned reviews that could best be described as mixed. There isn’t much enthusiasm for the car.

      Meanwhile, the current European Focus is still considered one of the top cars in its class.

      We have to believe that two things will happen for the Cruze to best this new Focus.

      One, that GM will dramatically improve the North American version of the Cruze.

      Two, that Ford will completely botch the new-generation Focus.

      The second could happen, but the first is highly unlikely to happen.

  • avatar
    th009

    I like what they did with the sedan — surprisingly it actually looks better than the 4-door hatchback.  And somehow they spared the Focus the excess of chrome that the Fusion suffers from, don’t know who to thank for that!
     
    The new chassis should finally make the Focus at least competitive.  Exactly how competitive, we’ll need to wait for the test drives of the US-spec version (no, they are not identical to the European ones) — as well as that of the Cruze.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Z71, it would be great for Ford if it stole customers from Toyota, Honda and Hyundai, but it doesn’t have to outsell the Corolla and Civic. It only has to outsell the Cobalt replacement and the Fiatsler.

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Hate to double post, but there was an interesting article on this car in today’s Wall Street Journal.  Ford’s target is highway mpg of 40 mpg on this car, and it has taken a lot of little steps (including speed-sensitive grill shutters) to achieve what could be (if EPA tests go as Ford thinks they will) class-leading fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      If that’s true…(40mpg)….then what’s the point of the Party…err…Fiesta?  The Fiesta will only muster 40MPG…so there really is no incentive to buy the Fiesta if the Focus gets 40MPG.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Last I knew, EPA tests are done on a chassis dyno in Ann Arbor, and if that is still the case, how are grille shutters going to improve the rating?  (They might improve real world results, but otherwise should have no effect on the rating.)

      Has something changed here, or am I missing something?

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      Actually Robert…not every car/truck is tested by the EPA.  only a small handful are.  The rest are just what the manufactures think it will get.  There’s a reason many people don’t come near that 41 MPG Ford claims the Fusion Hybrid gets…

  • avatar
    Bancho

    I like this quite a bit. It’s orders of magnitude better than the current US Focus. The 5 door really appeals to me but I like the sedan as well.

  • avatar

    It will probably lack room like the Contour and flop in America. They never seem to learn in Detroit.

  • avatar
    Bancho

    @akear:
    The 1st gen US Focus didn’t lack room so while I’ll reserve judgement, I won’t be unnecessarily pessimistic. Of the domestics, Ford *does* seem to have learned. They aren’t infallible, but they are making the most credible efforts.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    Cars like this Focus will at least have a chance with some potential buyers who otherwise would not consider any domestic brand. It will take many years of excellent product to achieve sales levels that Honda and Toyota have long enjoyed in this segment but it would appear this vehicle is definitely a step in the right direction for the U.S. market. From an enthusiast’s standpoint the inclusion of the RS model in the U.S. line up would also be most welcome.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    I am very interested in seeing the Focus RS when it hits our shores.  I think Ford has a winner here.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    As the owner of an ’05 ST (with the high-output 2.3 and SVT-derived suspension), I can vouch for the Focus – it’s a brilliant little car. It’s practical, roomy, and a blast to drive. It’s also been utterly reliable (aside from a mechanical issue caused by some ham-fisted driving on my part). The only real problem was the cheap plastic inside.

    Stuff the RS engine/suspension into the five-door, and I’m at the dealer tomorrow.

    Ford proved the viability of the “world car” with the original Focus – it was basically the same one you could buy in Germany, and it sold extremely well. Hell, even the dumbed down current model still sells. That’s how good that car was.

  • avatar
    carguy

    So let me get this straight: When Ford creates  US only versions of world cars, auto editorials complain that we get “dumbed down” or diluted products. When Ford brings European cars to the US then the very same auto editorials state that Ford is “doubling down” on a previously unsuccessful strategy.
     
    I’m no car pundit but doing away with 4 speed slush boxes and giving the small car consumer high tech fuel efficient engines with dual clutch transmissions and state of the art MyFord electronics seems like a winning strategy to me.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      Ford didn’t just bring the Euro model here…many different committes designed this car (as you can tell from the styling).  The European arm of Ford had a say, (unfortunatley) the US arm had a say, etc.  Which…is the problem.
       
      The European car is what everyone wanted…and…sadly, Ford did not want to give that to us.  Rather…they gave us a compromise.

  • avatar
    AccAzda

    HAMINA, hamina, hamina!!! (like what the cartoon guys do when they see a really hot cartoon girl)

    Man..
    God.

    What an awesome interior.
    I love.. THAT FINALLY FORD HAS THE INTERIOR SWITCHES that a CHILD cant operate.. that my Accord from 92 HAD.
    Heck Im thrilled that SOMEONE figured out that the switches for the doors and the mirrors should be down by the grab bar.. and not closer to the mirror itself (like in my wifes 03 Focus.)
    God, Im thrilled that the parking brake (mostly covered) now shares space with the shifter, and they all have enough room to give the car a spot to lean on, and a spot to store crap.
    I love the Chrome / bezel details… now that the CAR FINALLY HAS A TACH!
    Geez.. even the seats look comfortable.

    What an awesome exterior.
    Rear clip shows MONDEO and the front clip FINALLY shows a giant MAW.

    Im still staring at my next purchase.. a Mazda 3 hatch, but this.. Id look at it but would have to make a mad dash for the Titanium version.

    Its got great colors.
    Its got great lines.
    No proportion is out of sync.
    The swag line connects properly from front to rear.
    The bottom of the door (can remember the term) has a nice styling detail.. along with the single unifiying line from handle to handle.
    There is very little chrome.
    The car has side repeaters and even the  factory technology to do the CUT LINE.. ANYWHERE THEY DAMN WELL PLEASE!
    GOD.. I love how they worked the cut line to mesh with the offset of the rear tires..
    I also love the assembly line of the rear bumper.. and how it meshes PERFECTLY with the rear lights!! THAT..is DETAIL!
    Heck I bet the nozzels are incorporated into the cowl.
    MAN DAMN!
    Make this the brightest color of O R A N G E and I might actually have the good faith to buy a FORD vehicle.
    Holy shit batman.. ITS GONNA SNOW!

    HEHE…
    Now if ya could fix the cruise control issues and put the lights from the dash into a stalk behind the right side of the wheel.. then you’d be in business!

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Jeez, I hate to rain down on all of the Ford love here, but does anyone realize how many times Ford has said it will bring a world car to the US market? What is this, the sixth attempt? Old Fiesta, Escort, Mondeo, Focus, New Fiesta, and now New Focus? I like how some folks have predicted the success of the Fiesta, when it’s not even on sale here yet. And can predict the same for the new Focus by looking at the photos.

    Plain and simple, just like the last Focus, it will diverge. The US will NOT get a RS variant, and we will be forever stuck with lukewarm versions of what our European cousins get, because we (Americans) wont spend mid size money on a compact car.

    The saddest thing about all of this? I used to love Fords, I really did. I sat and waited for the ‘world’ Escort to come here, only to be disappointed. I really wanted the Merkur lineup to take off, so much so that I was willing to trade my 5.0 Mustang for one. I wanted the ‘world’ Mondeo to come here, only to see it canceled (and that North America would only get the less than stellar Jaguar version). I finally gave up on any hope of ‘world’ Fords coming here, until I realized this: the only ‘world’ Ford is the F150.

    • 0 avatar
      mtymsi

      While your history of Ford’s previous attempts to introduce “world cars” to the U.S. market is indeed correct it has no bearing on the upcoming Fiesta/Focus introductions.
       
      The prime motivator behind upcoming “world car” introductions is the global cost savings not the European model sold in the U.S. factor.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @mtymsi – see hwyhobo’s comment below. He took the words right out of my mouth.

  • avatar
    hwyhobo

    I am not buying Ford’s sincerity about “world car” for a New York minute. As soon as it is announced for the US market, we will find out that it is just like the EU version except “minor adjustments to better suit American drivers”.

    Until I see a hatchback here with a Euro-spec 1.4l gas or 2l diesel, Ford can repeat “world car” until they are blue in the face, and I still won’t believe it.

    • 0 avatar
      mtymsi

      The only reason the diesels will not be available in the U.S. is because the engine is too expensive to import and Ford doesn’t think there is enough demand for it in this market to justify the cost of producing it here. Keep in mind the difference in fuel costs in Europe and the fact that over 50% of new car sales in Europe are diesel. In the U.S. diesel car sales are virtually nothing by comparison.

    • 0 avatar
      hwyhobo

      Funny, VW is beginning to sell its diesel in California.
      Like I said, through one door or another, excuses will start coming in why the world car isn’t, and it will all be because “we prefer it that way”.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      VW is a niche marketer in North America and is developing their best PR with their diesel products. I doubt that VW is making any money on their TDIs.
      On the other hand, Ford is a volume seller and needs to sell multiples of what VW does, and at a profit. As much as I would be interested in a diesel Focus, I think that the market  will not support one.

    • 0 avatar
      mtymsi

      LOL, doing anything VW does in the U.S. market is a surefire recipe for disaster.
       
      Seriously, diesels don’t sell in cars in the U.S. market and that is fact. You can’t make a business case to justify building a diesel engine plant here, there simply isn’t enough demand. Diesel cars in the U.S. are such a tiny niche market manufacturers that build cars in the U.S. for export with diesel engines don’t even offer them in the U.S. market.
       
      To criticize the Focus because it doesn’t have a diesel engine option really doesn’t make much sense considering less than 1% of potential buyers will dismiss the vehicle for that reason.

    • 0 avatar
      hwyhobo

      mtymsi, fine, if that’s how Ford feels about it (although diesel is not available in many places because of the environazis, not insufficient demand), but let’s drop this tired pretense of “world car”. It insults my intelligence.
       

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    The side profile of the 5-door looks exactly like the two year old Astra.
     
    How did the Astra work out for GM again?

    • 0 avatar
      Bancho

      Most of what killed the Astra had little to do with how good, or attractive, the car was.

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      2011 Focus: http://www.netcarshow.com/ford/2011-focus/800×600/wallpaper_03.htm
       
      2007 Astra: http://www.netcarshow.com/opel/2007-astra/800×600/wallpaper_09.htm
       
      In what alternate universe are those two cars exactly the same? In profile the new Focus looks vaguely similar to the new Astra, but the old one? Well, there’s a hatchback and four wheels; otherwise, no.
       
      Can you just go away please?
       

  • avatar
    Fusion

    Why the hell would Ford start using the blue interior lighting scheme that even VW has given up on? While it might look stylish for a few drives, it really is distracting and is harder to read than most other colours. Though Ford seems to be using a “lighter” shade of blue than VW was…Also, in the interior pic it seems as if many buttons are low and behind the shifter. That looks to be problematic in the odd gears, though I really dont mess with the AC once its set.
    The interior seems to be very stylish . this certainly looks good on media pictures, etc. How good it looks in the actual car, and especially after a few years remains to be seen. IIRC the original Focus interior was regarded very highly as well, because of its stylish and trendy looks. And that has aged horribly, especially compared to a Golf of the same age…
    The car itself is quite nice, though I am not sure if I would prefer it over the Facelifted EU-Focus. The problem are the taillights – reaching way too far around the corner (looks like something growing out of them) and being kinda “bubbly” in the side profile. They do look ok on the sedan version.
    INteresting observation: On the american car blogs and boards i read, this car is being praised by almost everyone like the second coming of christ. On the european car boards, the reaction is mostly “meh” or even negative. Maybe the world car is not meant to be? For example, the taillights look ok on the sedan, but really gruesome on the hatchback (seriously – who the hell signed of these taillights and this photo: http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/focus5.jpg ). Had this been a mostly european car, there would not have been a sedan – so they could have made a nicer looking hatchback. ;)
    Well, since Ford has decided to let us Europeans wait (thats gonna give them some bad press over here…), I guess I’ll just enjoy the current focus a little longer. ANd wait for some technical infos, other than what mileage they are hoping to achieve…
     
     

    • 0 avatar
      Bancho

      “Had this been a mostly european car, there would not have been a sedan – so they could have made a nicer looking hatchback. ;)”

      There’s a Focus sedan available in Europe now. Why should the new version do away with it? That said, I like the new hatchback.

    • 0 avatar
      Fusion

      Youre right, there is. Did not know that, I have never seen a Focus sedan in Germany (or the rest of europe while traveling).
       
      BTW: Take a look at the 5door Hatchback pictures. Am I the only one who thinks its got quite a lot of “wagon” qualities? Just magine the car just a bit longer and a bit less decrease in the roofline. I am 95% sure thats gonna be how the station wagon is going to look like… (I do think the same about the new  Astra btw. Might just be the overall form + the pictures…)

  • avatar
    V6

    the location/design of the gas cap flap is a bit weirdo, but i like it as a whole

  • avatar
    revolver1978

    As an owner of a 2007 SAAB 9-5 Sportcomi, I’ve grown accustomed to disspointing news. . .
    That being said, in a few years I will be n the market of a new wagon.  CTS Sportwagon is on the list, as is a Regal GS wagon (if it gets produced.) And, oddly enough, this little number.
    I like the looks (it’s as close to a Mondeo Wagon as we will likely get over here.)
    I like the G-whizzardry (inner geek likes the MyFord tech.)


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