By on March 1, 2012

We’re still waiting to get the final February sales numbers on all automakers, but one emerging story is that the Ford Focus has finally outsold its domestic rival, the Chevrolet Cruze.

Throughout 2011 and January 2012, the Cruze led the Focus, with the Chevy beating the Ford last year by a substantial margin (231, 860 units for the Cruze versus 175,709 for the Focus). Last month the Cruze did 15,049 units versus 14,440 for the Focus. This month, independent analyst Timothy Cain is reporting that the Focus finally bested the Cruze. Chevrolet moved 20,427 Cruzes versus 23,350 for the Blue Oval’s small car.

Ford is touting a 115 percent year-over-year gain for the Focus, having sold 10,879 Foci in February 2011, but their fleet percentage back then, according to TrueCar, was just 1.6 percent.. One year later, it’s closer to 20 percent. February wasn’t even over when Ford started sending out press releases claiming that Focus sales are on pace to double this month compared to February of 2011. With reports of Ford Focus fleet sales hovering around 45 percent, we thought that it would be worthwhile to look at the fleet/retail breakdown for the Focus and Cruze in 2011, as a means of providing a bit of context .

Fleet sales, as we all know, cut into margins and hurt resale value. The Cruze and Focus weren’t that far off in the fleet race, but the big gap was in retail sales.

While Ford was complaining about not having enough Focus models to sell last year, the timing of Ford’s decision to dump Foci into their fleets (Ford wouldn’t give us a breakdown of daily rental sales either, stating that their total mix is around 12 percent) is also curious. Was this an attempt to move cars that were prone to quality issues (the MyFord Touch and dual-clutch gearboxes in particular) away from consumer hands? Even when Ford reached a “sales high” of 22,303 units in May of 2011, they were still sending 41.4 percent of Foci to the fleets. Check out the month-by-month charts below for a better breakdown. The first chart represents total sales in 2011 broken down by fleet and retail, while the second chart represents inventory levels from January 2011 to February 2012.

When Focus inventory was at its lowest points, its fleet sales were relatively high. This trend starts to reverse itself as inventory becomes higher. Focus retail sales, assuming the 20 percent fleet number is correct, would be at 18,880. Of course, the missing links here are the Cruze fleet sales numbers for 2012 and the incentives being doled out on both cars.

Looking at the bigger picture, inventory overall bouncing back and the Japanese automakers finally shrugging off their production woes, numbers for the Civic and Corolla should be even higher – the Civic was far and away the leader last year, and Honda barely moved any of them to fleets – by contrast, in June of 2011, Ford sent 50 percent of its Focus volume went to fleets. We’ll know more as the day progresses, but the compact segment as a whole is looking very strong for this month.

Thanks to TrueCar and Timothy Cain for the sales numbers

 

 

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76 Comments on “The Truth About Ford Focus Sales...”


  • avatar
    Rob Finfrock

    Ugh.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Going to stick my neck out here…
    The Cruze is a better car than the focus.
    SUPER_INTERNET_ENTHUSIAST_HATE_MACHINE.GO();

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      Not going to disagree, however, that wouldn’t be the case if the Focus had a normal 6-speed auto.

    • 0 avatar
      Rob Finfrock

      The Focus is completely hampered by its DCT. (However, the powertrain is generally agreed to be the weakest link for the Cruze, as well.) This would seem to be further evidence that compact car buyers want dull transportation.

      I expected to like the Focus more than I did when I test drove a 5-speed SE. The interior styling was too wild for me (to the point I couldn’t imagine being faced with it every day) and the driving experience, while fine, wasn’t as impressive as I hoped it would be.

      • 0 avatar
        supersleuth

        It’s not such an inexplicable preference for a lot of people. Since a few months ago I have had a 120 mile RT commute on boring (but fortunately not too congested) highways. That’ll make you really appreciate a smooth, quiet ride over almost any other qualities. I like my Fit and will drive it into the ground, but I might not have bought it if I’d known it was destined for this kind of duty. If the Cruze’s 1.4 turbo proves durable, the Cruze Eco will be high on my shopping list when the time comes.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Weimer

        @supersleuth – I bought the Cruze Eco for similar reasons – I drive 650 miles per week, ~400 of that on a 3 hour each-way drive on weekends; the Cruze Eco is quiet and has surprisingly plenty of power. Just get the manual – the slushbox loses 4 mpgs and there are a lot of complaints (mostly for 2011, not 2012) about the auto.

        Now, you might want to look into an LT manual. You don’t lose as much fuel economy and the ratios are much closer, making for a bit better performance match to the engine. The Eco’s top 3 gears are overdrives, 6th is about .5:1. You’re only turning about 2K @65mph.

        It’s quiet, comfortable, better-than-advertised fuel mileage, and is remarkably solid. A real change from what used to be built at Lordstown.

        FWIW, I was initially looking onto a Focus, but I wanted a 6-speed manual.

      • 0 avatar
        hakata

        I’ll second the complaint about the interior. The dash layout is intrusive and busy, and none of the controls fall naturally to hand. Plus the visibility is way crummy. You shouldn’t have to crane your neck to see out the front of a compact. Shame, I really wanted to like this car.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        I have to agree with you here. I seriously considered buying an SE hatch with sport package and 5-speed manual, but didn’t. The engine and the clutch/tranny were wonderful (although 40 more ponies would be nice, but not insane). The interior was . . . um “busy.” My wife strongly objected to the way the passenger side dash curves out as it reaches the door, such that you have to dodge it when entering the car. Given the size of the car, the rear seat room was a disappointment as was the room under the hatch. In terms of practicality, the sedan I rented last June seemed to have more useful room.

        The ride was not as supple as I had expected from the gushing reviews. It was on the firm side, which is o.k., but I could see to someone who has not spent 8 years in a Z3 as his daily driver, the ride could be fatiguing.

        The DCT was absolutely unacceptable to both me and my wife.

        The price was good and the dealer was offering me a good trade in price on my Z3. But, I just ended up liking the car less than I had expected to. If it had been a better 4-passenger car or just more comfy feeling overall . . . or if it had more power, I might have decided differently.

        As it was, I kept my old car and invested about $800 in parts and a day of my time in doing needed repairs and preventative maintenance (i.e. replacing the entire cooling system, except the fan.)

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      All current Ford automatic transmissions (save maybe the 6R140 in the Super Duty) should be sent straight back to Hellscape they spawned from.

      And the Fiesta needs better tires.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        The 6F50 and 55 are better in the 2011+ Taurus, Explorer and Lincoln equivalents than in the other vehicles, mostly due to calibration. Better than the GM version of the same transaxle.

    • 0 avatar
      JCraig

      I thought exactly the opposite when I saw the two in person. I was most surprised by how much higher quality the Focus felt compared to the others. Really seemed to be a class above the typical compact.

    • 0 avatar
      stryker1

      I’ll add one caveat. The Leather seats for the Cruze are like a torture chamber for butt-cheeks. Seriously, those might be the most uncomfortable seats I’ve ever sat in. Assume the cloth ones are alright.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I’m sure there was a car that was redesigned and inspired a massive bitchfest equal to or greater than that which I am seeing over at more than a half dozen websites with respect to the new Ford Focus, but I certainly can’t recall any inciting the wrath I see.

      You don’t even have to go to forums. Do a quick search on youtube or google videos for people posting erratic powershift behavior, absolute non-response to the touchscreen controls on the radio (people can’t control the volume or even shut it off), to posted videos of around 20mpg averages with a few thousand miles on the odometer.

      There’s also one of the longest threads I’ve ever seen regarding the MT82 gearbox on the Mustang (the one that has a significant plurality of Mustang owners claiming it’s failing or has failed).

      I actually like the Focus, for what it is, and if I was in the market for a compact car, it would have been on my shopping list, so I’m sure Ford is losing sales to some degree due to the bitchfest.

      A minor quibble – Ford was remiss not to allow certain options on the manual transmission version of the Focus, such as leather seating, which is a $795 option. Why would they possibly do something that deprives them of additional revenue?

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        You’ve been able to get leather with a manual all along – the Tuscany Red interior package gives you leather in the SE trim which can be had with a stick. For the 2013s the Titanium will be available with a stick as well if a two-tone red and black interior isn’t your thing.

        Also, any decent sized dealer should have a good relationship with an interior customization shop. We have a couple we can use that can add leather to any vehicle, and they use kits that match the fit of the factory seats exactly, and do it for about the same cost as the factory leather option. As an added bonus they can match the factory interior color, or let you go crazy – so if your dream is to have a yellow Focus outfitted with purple leather seats with white suede inserts, it’s entirely possible.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I wasn’t aware that a manual SE could be ordered with leather trim.

        If that’s the case, and I don’t doubt you, either I wasn’t able to successfully navigate Ford’s configurator, or Ford needs to update their site.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    My question is… “Who made the greater profit per car?”

  • avatar
    stottpie

    i just bought a focus and love it.

    but i made sure to avoid the quality trappings – i got the 5spd manual and no mytouch, just the sync.

    i do also like the cruze a lot, but the focus is way more fun to drive.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Who put more cash on the hood?

    I must admit that this version of the Focus is the nicest-looking so far, not the same flat-sided, cheap-looking econobox. Still…it’s a Ford, and as long as I’m in Chevy’s camp, it’s back to the old-school rivalry of Ford vs. Chevy, and Chevy wins – until GM ticks me off again – then it’s back to Chrysler!

  • avatar
    parabellum2000

    I might live in a bubble in Central Florida, but I swear I’ve only seen a handful of Cruzes and thousands of Focuses. A bunch are fleet vehicles (local govt loves them), but I still see tons of Focses on the road.

    Is there a geographical disparity here or is it because the Cruz blends in ;)

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      I’d imagine that rental cars are very common in your area thanks to your southern geography. I’ll be picking up my rental car in central FL next week and I’m betting it will be a Focus. The only time I’ve ridden in a current gen Focus was when my friend rented it.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      I see the same. I think I’ve seen a total of 2-3 Cruzes here in suburban Boston, and dozens of Focuses. My building is populated by a lot of 20-somethings and several have new Focuses. It has a “cool” factor that can’t be matched by the Cruze, Corolla or Civic. To me the Cruze is merely what the Corolla should have been. Solid, but entirely bland. I honestly think the younger set is cross shopping them against the likes of an Acura TSX or used German machines.

      Let’s see the demographics on age of buyers. I guarantee you the Focus has a much younger average age.

    • 0 avatar
      nikita

      Exactly the same thing in Los Angeles. New Foci appear to be everywhere and the Cruze is either so bland you cant see it in traffic, or they havent sold any here. I did see one Cruze, in appliance white, within a block of Long Beach Airport.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      The reason I don’t see any Cruzes on the road is because they’re so bland I don’t realize when they are there. They’re the perfect bank heist getaway car.

  • avatar
    W.

    One problem I have is the mix of Foci that are interpreted in this list. The ’12 wasn’t available until at August at the earliest, so any numbers for fleet sales that are before that are for the old model, which is deservedly fleet bound. June of 2011, and I doubt there were more than a handful of ’12′s on the road, fleet or no fleet.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      The new gen was available Dec’10/Jan’11. It has been on the market over a full year now. There may have been a number of the previous gen hanging around by summer, but not enough to throw the numbers off like this.

      • 0 avatar
        otaku

        I have to disagree. We have dozens of Ford dealers around here and there were no 2012 Focuses available to even check out until almost late spring of 2011. I remember because I kept pestering my local dealership to try and get a close look at one, so I could see how it looked in person compared to all the images from the car mags.

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Finfrock

        You’re both right. Per earlier reports, 2012 Focus production was constrained due to a reported supplier issue. The issue resolved around the end of Q3 2011.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      I rented a ’12 Focus in Phoenix in June 2011.

    • 0 avatar
      CompWizrd

      At least in Canada, the $5000+ price increase on the 2012 Focus over the 2011 probably cost them a few sales.

      My wife bought a 2011 Focus in January, as we knew the 2012 was going to be much more expensive. We didn’t bother cross-shopping the Cruze, as it was approximately $7000 more financed than the Focus. (combination of X-plan pricing and 0% on the Ford, and the Cruze having around 5% interest)

      She’s happy with the Focus though, averaging about 32-33 mpg on her commute, whereas the previous car, a ’01 Malibu w/250,000+ miles on it was doing around 21-22.. at 25,000+ miles a year she’s saving some serious gas money.

      Loves the butt-warmers too.

  • avatar
    alluster

    Fleet sales or not, Ford is making twice as much as GM per car. 2011 profits were about the same as GM, selling only half as many units globally. In fact, Ford’s profits were more than Honda, Toyota and Nissan combined for calendar year 2011.

    Discounts explain the Focus sales spike in Feb. According to truecar retail sales data, the Focus has an average discount of $2000 while the Cruze, $78. Also ATP of the base Focus is $15,500 while the top of the line Focus is $21,000. Compare that to a base Cruze at $17,700 and top of the line Cruze at $24,000.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      From the data you present it seems GM is making more money per Cruze than Ford is making with each Focus. That doesn`t negate your first comment about Ford making, globally, twice as much as GM per vehicle. The US compact market is a very small slice of each companies business.

      Derek – great article with lots of data and very timely. TTAC at its best.

      I was a little confused by “Of course, the missing links here are the Cruze fleet sales numbers and the incentives being doled out on both cars.” in the second to last paragraph. Isn`t the fleet ratio already known from the charts you show? Looking at the December 2011 data in chart 2 it seems the ratio for Cruze is around 23% (4000 out of 17000 – rough estimate just looking at chart). Probably my misunderstanding, could you clarify?

    • 0 avatar
      Conslaw

      @alluster – You beat me to it. The Focus incentives are much better right now. I don’t know which car I’d take if the incentives were equal, but if the Focus is $1500 cheaper, I’d go with the Focus, hands down. Actually, without incentives, the car that I’d buy at $20k-$21k is the Hyundai Sonata GLS. Almost equal fuel economy, roomier, better-equipped, and much more powerful.

  • avatar
    rentonben

    The real news is that we all care about this.

    5 years ago, I couldn’t care less about Ford or GM’s s#!t box cars.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    There are a number of potential factors here.  I seem to remember the 2012 model Foci starting to become available last spring, so the big fleet numbers in April, May, and June are just the dumping of the older body style.  There were likely some 2012 models sold as fleet vehicles as well, but at a 12% of the fleet sales going to rental lots, the majority would have been government or company cars.   The inventory shortage may have been extended a bit at the dealer level due to large fleet orders waiting on production – if somebody is buying hundreds of cars in the exact same spec it’s easier to just run those out all at once and then get back to the variety building for dealers. 

    There haven’t been notable quality issues with the DSG. The Fiesta problem was due to a ground wire, not the transmission itself, and the complaints about the Focus tranny feel were a mix of people not understanding the learning nature of the Powershift, not understanding how a DSG differs from a traditional automatic, and an overly aggressive factory programming setup for the early 2012 Foci.  The bellyaching from some of the buff books didn’t help, but I never felt the shifting was off putting.

    • 0 avatar
      JKC

      I agree with your assessment of the transmission, although I have very limited experience, consisting of one test drive and an overnight rental. I noticed a brief, slightly harsh clutch engagement when I started off, and that was it. The remaining 24 hours with the car felt like a normal automatic with slightly firmer shifts. I could live with the transmission.

      The rental car I had was an SE sedan with the winter package. My criticisms of the car: the trunk opening is too small, like most small sedans. And whoever signed off on the placement of the seat heater controls needs to take remedial courses in ergonomics. Lastly, cruise control should be standard. But overall I liked the car, and if Ford was selling the wagon, I’d have already bought one.

      I’ll have to look at the new Escape and C-Max when they hit the local showrooms…

    • 0 avatar
      Conslaw

      I rented a 2012 Focus last October that already had quite a few miles on it, so I’m guessing that it was one of the summer arrivals. This was an SE Hatchback with the DSG. I had no problems with the transmission. I found it to be an easy-to-live-with car with a hard-to-fathom radio. Excellent MPG, though, up to 38mpg measured.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    On the other Ford v. Chevy fronts:

    To Ford:

    - F-Series (47,273) def. Silverado (32,297)
    - Focus (23,350) def. Cruze (20,427)
    - Fusion (21,773) def. Malibu (19,987)
    - Escape (18,666) def. Equinox (17,851)
    - Explorer (10,440) def. Traverse (7,966)
    - E-Series (10,100) def. Express (5,257)
    - Mustang (7,351) def. Camaro (6,923)
    - Ranger (disc.) (4,482) def. Colorado (3,532)
    - Crown Vic (disc.) (548) def. Caprice (155)

    To Chevy:

    - Impala (15,333) def. Taurus (4,329)
    - Sonic (7,900) def. Fiesta (5,518)
    - Tahoe/Suburban (7,516) def. Expedition (3,050)

    While Chevy can claim domestic monopoly on a few low-volume niche segments (Corvette, Volt, Avalanche), Chevy is outmatched in CUV choices (only two to Ford’s four). Most importantly, Chevy’s recent focus on making better cars (Sonic, Cruze, Malibu) it has left them with very old trucks, allowing the F-Series to widen its lead.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      If you add the GMC versions the Granite/Equinox, Colorado/Canyon and Traverse/Acadia would win their respective categories. But this is parochial stuff from the old days. The competitors are Toyota, Hyundai/Kia, VW etc. Profit rather than volume is also more important and Ford did “win” on that metric for last year.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    A Focus is on my radar for the maybe not too distant future, so I take this as good news. More cash on the hood if I go new, and lower resale value if I wait and go used!

  • avatar
    SV

    The fleet numbers for 2011 were alarming, but appear to have been due to a large amount of fleet dumping during late spring/early summer. If the fleet rate is really closer to 20% now, I’d consider that pretty good – 18,800 retail sales is still a strong showing. Besides, American cars are almost always going to have higher fleet percentages than imports – part of that is daily rental, yes, but American cars also form the bulk of corporate and government fleets (which is where most of Ford’s fleet sales come from).

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Im glad someone pointed this out. So many of these small domestics running around Army posts for sure. The government buys a lot of cars. As far as daily rentals I have been just as likely to get a Corolla as a Focus lately.

      And as to the above post about the Impala’s sales numbers…talk about a fleet queen.

  • avatar
    enzl

    My dad (with my push) took delivery of a ’12 Focus SFE in September ’11.

    He loves it, my mom does as well. They have been averaging low 30s, with a highway trek that netted about 39mpg @ 75-80MPH mixed in.

    Yes, the DCT is a little clunky (although much less so after a reflash/reset)but its a nice car, a reasonable value and a light year removed from the crap that used to pass as acceptable in the compact bargain basement.

  • avatar

    Congrats to Derek for jumping into the exciting world of sales analysis with a great piece!

    For me, the scariest trend in all this is the inventory. The industry was pretty self-congratulatory when inventories dropped to 50-60 days back in 2010… but I don’t see anyone freaking out about these 80-90 day numbers for relatively new models.

    The latest inventory data I can find is from Feb1, and the picture isn’t pretty. Industry-wide inventories are still dropping, but that seems to be driven by brands like Subaru and Hyundai, which had 31 and 30 days supply respectively. GM was at 89 days, Ford is at 86 days and Chrysler is at 83. The brands with the highest inventory were Lincoln (142), Fiat (132), Mitsubishi (119), Buick (118) and GMC (110). There has been volatility in these numbers, so I want to see the March 1 number before getting too worked up about this, but there’s definitely evidence of a return to the old stack-em-high-sell-em-cheap habits in Motown.

    Of course, the key to this is rising gas prices. An 80-90 day supply of compacts might not be a huge problem if gas spikes and the market goes crazy for fuel economy. On the other hand, Detroit’s full-sized pickup inventories run from 83 days (F-Series) to 130 days (Sierra)… that will be a big problem in a gas price spike scenario.

    Again, these are month-old numbers. Look for a column on this when new numbers come out.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Not to mention the channel stuffing going on at some manufacturers; that is, if one believes data that has leaked out, but which dealers (who just so happen to be running massive discounts on lease specials) refuse to comment on.

    • 0 avatar
      toxicroach

      Well I wonder. IIRC 4 years ago we were talking about how we were going to be at 10 or 11 million units a year for the foreseeable future. Now we’re at 14 million… somebody might be making the bet that have good inventory buffer will help if demand surges, and with incentives being pretty low it really wouldn’t be too hard to trim it if sales come in lower than expectations.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        We’re not at 14 million. That’s a rolling and volatile estimate based on monthly figures that come in, as you know.

        2011 sales of light vehicles in the U.S. were 12.8 million.

        Anyone can make their projections, and I wish them well, but February has every indication of looking to be an anomaly skewed to the high side, so using it early on in 2012 as a foundation to try and pin a roughly precise number on total 2012 light vehicle sales might be unwise.

      • 0 avatar
        vbofw

        “we’re not at 14 million”

        In February, we were on pace for a 15+ million year. There would need to be one hell of a drop off for 2012 to finish below 14 million.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Read Ed Niedermeyer’s comment above mine.

      Either we’re not going to hit 14 million, or it’s going to be done via heavy discounting, and an even more aggressive campaign of leasing/financing vehicles to anyone with a pulse, credit scores and proof of income be damned (in which case, this will coincide with more economic downdraft).

      There have been a lot of fleet sales already this year. I doubt rental, government and corporate pools are going to continue to add vehicles at this pace throughout 2012.

    • 0 avatar
      Juniper

      Ed must be bored with his new job.

  • avatar
    sherstat

    Focus SE HATCHBACK, sport package with the 5 speed and pass on the electronic crap.

    I did not even look at a Cruze for lack of a hatch or wagon.
    In the above configuration, my Focus is a great drivers car and delivers 30mpg around town and 38-39 highway plus the great utility of the Hatchback format–essential in this class in my opinion. After seven months ownership, no problems though I wish I could have waited for the better incentives now in place.

    As a long time VW driver the ’12 Focus has nothing to be ashamed of in the 5 speed format.

    Yes, the 6 speed DCT and MFT are real issues which Ford can hopefully resolve asap.

  • avatar
    cleek

    Last month while sensing the now impending fossil fuel tsunami my wife and I started checking out the eco-box options.

    Drove the 5 speed SE hatch + sports package. It was acceptable but still seemed to needed a damn 6th gear for OD. Unfortunately we need to add an auto to the fleet this go around.

    Drove the DCT Auto. Since we can already drive stick, neither of us enjoyed handing over control to the robotic equiv of a ham-fisted monkey with a shake weight.

    Ended up getting an ’11 Prius on close out. Now being assisted by a fat electromechanical hamster huffing on a bong.

    This sucks.

    Somebody start drilling off-shore. Soon. Please?

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Why the need for an automatic if you can both drive a manual, and it sounds like you both prefer it as well? Has traffic broken you?

      • 0 avatar
        cleek

        We need to accommodate others in the family. The kids will be starting soon and our older parents don’t have the dexterity for a manual transmission anymore. We also have a 325ic with a 5sp manual, which the capable can drive.

    • 0 avatar
      otaku

      “Somebody start drilling off-shore. Soon. Please?”

      And while you’re at it, if it’s not too much trouble, please make an effort to actually direct some of that crude into a barrel-like container, as opposed to letting it spill all over the ocean.

  • avatar
    D.Smithee

    I thought these ‘quality issues’ were chalked up to people just not getting how a dual-clutch worked?

  • avatar
    fozone

    Hate to say it, but someone at Ford needs to step up and kill the MyTouch system, fire Microsoft and start from scratch. I was really shocked by how crappy it was when I took a test drive, and I knew that living with it for 5+ years was a non-starter.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      It doesn’t need to be killed – just improved and refined. Thankfully, the first major rewrite of the code is about to launch, and Ford is offering it as a free upgrade to all current owners (along with a free updated map database to anyone who has Navigation). All current original owners are going to get a USB drive (and map SD card if they have navigation) in the mail so that they can do the update themselves, to take it into the dealer to have it installed. Owners that bought their cars used are going to be able to bring it in to the dealer to have the update installed.

      MyFord Touch was very ambitious – it does more than any other system on the market, but there have obviously been some bugs. I’ve had a chance to play around with the new software a bit and from my experience the speed of transition between screens has been greatly improved, and I wasn’t able to crash it. The new on-screen layout makes more sense, and the buttons are larger to make it easier to use without staring at the screen.

      iDrive sucked when it first came out, and one of my coworkers has a Mercedes with an older version of the Command system which is confusing and convoluted in its own right. Microsoft can develop a great interface with the best of them (although the MyFord and MyLincoln Touch systems are mostly Ford designed on the front end – the MS influence is in the parts you don’t actually see that make everything work).

      • 0 avatar
        fozone

        the big difference is iDrive’s interface was terrible, but the software actually worked properly — if you could figure it out.

        MyTouch should not have been shipped in its current state — it is obvious from the moment you try it that the core of the software wasn’t yet fully-baked.

        Ford might want to consider taking a page from Apple’s book rather than Microsoft’s — don’t ship a product until it works, even if it means simplifying or leaving out features until the next revision.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I am deeply wary of touchscreen controls in vehicles for control of anything remotely important.

        It’s one thing to have a touchscreen on a tablet computer go wonky while surfing the web. It’s quite another to not be able to literally turn the radio off (a least bad scenario; see youtube video of experience of driver of 2012 Focus), or worse yet, not be able to alter the setting of something related to something a safety system or fundamental operation of the vehicle (I realize, I think, that neither Ford nor other automakers have not implemented touchscreen controls for such things – yet).

        I appreciate technology, and realize digital integration of gadgets for recreation and work is very important for many people, but it’s my humble opinion that going to far down this path is going to lead to some frustrating, expensive and maybe even dangerous consequences.

  • avatar
    Archie

    i find it interesting that in my home country (Europe) Cruze is considered as a much worse car than Focus (who just won Car of a Year award). I was able to buy a mid-spec 5d Cruze for 11,800 Euros (around $15,500), while similarly equipped Focus would cost me around 3000 Euro more (around 15,000 Euro or $20,000).

  • avatar
    PennSt8

    I bought a Focus back in July (complete with MFT and DCT) and at times ownership has been quite frustrating.

    As I write this the vehicle is sitting at the dealership to have the latest software revision for the the DCT, the headliner replaced (bad fasteners) and a low speed clunk. So long as Ford addresses those issues properly, and they’ve weeded out initial production bugs I don’t see why anyone would have any issues with this car (outside of the limited rear seat room). I’m still waiting for Ford to release the latest version of MFT software, but from what I’ve read it seems like the wait will be worth it. One area where this system continues to shine is the ease and use of voice prompts. It’s still one of the best in the industry. The ability to say I’m hungry, I’m hot, etc….and have it recognize what you want is very handy.

    Ford doesn’t get a free pass, but they aren’t the same old complacent company that they used to be. So I’ll give them credit for that.

    As far as the competition is concerned…..nothing in this class (outside of the Mazda 3) is even note worthy. It handles, steers, brakes and accelerates confidently without fuss and without feeling like a penalty box. The little extras that Ford built into this car really gives it a premium feel. In fact I’d go so far to say that the lease special 3, A4 and C Class are about on par with a 26K Focus.

  • avatar

    I rented a red SEL with Sync last August while visiting in LA. I really wanted to love this car, but it fell short in a few areas. The transmission always felt odd, shifting all the time, but never quickly when I needed it to downshift. The manual shift buttons helped but being small buttons didn’t make it fun like say the Chrysler or Mazda manual controls where you move the stick. I’m 6’1″ and the final straw was that the parking brake lever was ALWAYS digging into my knee no matter what I did.

    I felt that the seats were comfy, the dash layout was appealing to me though I can see how others would be annoyed. The HVAC controls were great but ultimately I can’t see myself buying one when it comes time.

  • avatar
    PDX-Tim

    Not sure we’re talking about the same car here. I bought a 2012 Focus Ti this month and haven’t had any trouble with the DCT or MFT. Maybe early models had a few teething pains, but they’re certainly not present in my Focus. I know that the dealer had just applied the MFT Performance Update that morning and it’s possible the DCT has been refined a bit.

    Whatever the case, I am completely satisfied with my choice and apparently so are my neighbors as they can’t seem to stop staring at it.

  • avatar
    BlackDynamiteOnline

    According to these numbers, Focus sold almost 30% to fleet, while GM sold under 20% of Cruzes fleet, which is where you want to be. In other words, if Ford sold the same percentage fleet as Chevy, they would have only sold 160k Focus last year.

    What we learned: Ford inflates their sales numbers with a high fleet %. (And it’s not just on Focus)
    BD

  • avatar
    BlackDynamiteOnline

    BTW, 28.5% fleet is VERY high for a newly-redesigned car. Fleet sales should drop, significantly, after a redesign.

    If it’s this high now, what will it be in 3-4 years, when the car is outdated?
    BD


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