By on July 14, 2017

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“You know, that might be the answer – to act boastfully about something we ought to be ashamed of. That’s a trick that never seems to fail.”

— Col. Korn, Catch-22

It never fails. I’ve visited dozens of Ford dealers this year in the course of my day gig, and they almost always have a Focus RS sitting prominently on the showroom floor. Sometimes, they have two. This week, I visited a dealer that had four.

“Hey, I’ve got one of those,” I said to him, pointing at a 2016 Nitrous Blue RS2 model.

“Would you like another one?” he pleaded. “I’m selling it below invoice.” A quick check of his inventory revealed that it had been sitting on his lot for 217 days, with the others eclipsing the 150 day mark — a lifetime at a Ford dealership.

Of course, we know that Ford has already decided to pull the plug on the RS, and they’re gonna send it off with a limited-edition run of 1500 cars with the RS2 package and a Quaife LSD (something the car has always desperately needed). But why? Why did a car that American hot hatch enthusiasts have been craving for decades see such a short existence in the States?

Ford dealers. Duh.

After all, it was scarcely a year ago that we were excitedly sharing reports of the first FoRS to ever hit these shores. Every press outlet from coast to coast wrote breathless takes about “God’s own hatchback.” It seemed like the Focus RS was the closest thing to a sure bet since the Baltimore Colts took on Joe Namath and the Jets in Super Bowl III.

So what did Ford dealers do? They fucked it all up.

They refused to allow test drives of the car. They put them behind velvet ropes, right next to the 2016 GT350R that’s been sitting untouched since Day One. They treated anybody under the age of 40 who was interested in one like they had leprosy. And then, of course, they asked for additional dealer markup, sometimes as much as $10,000 — and when the market balked at their asking price, they stood firm like the musicians on the deck of the Titanic, playing the requiem mass for their floorplan loans.

In fact, a quick search of online third party sites shows that there are still dealers asking for as much as $20,000 above sticker price for Focuses that are getting damned close to celebrating a birthday.

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Thankfully, some dealers have finally come to their senses and have begun to sell at MSRP (and, as you can see in the above example, far below MSRP) but, unfortunately, all the shine is off the car. Hot hatch lovers have transitioned their fickle affection to the new Civic Type R. People are starting to figure out that maybe the Focus RS isn’t the best car ever, but merely an excellent hatchback that might have been slightly overpriced from the get-go. So instead getting the RS500 we were hoping for, Ford is acting boastfully about a car that has been, by most measures, an unqualified sales disaster, by announcing a Limited Edition.

Put on your boots, folks, because this is getting thick.

“To satisfy strong demand for the ever-popular Focus RS, I’m very excited that we’re bringing this limited-edition vehicle to North America,” said Henry Ford, Ford Performance marketing manager. “We have spent a great deal of time listening to our customers, speaking to owners’ club members, reading comments and suggestions on enthusiast websites, and even studying various forum Photoshop renderings.”

Let me try to fix that for you, Henry Nepotism:

“To try to salvage some semblance of pride and dignity for ourselves, I’m very relieved to say that we finally realized that a car that’s putting 300 hp to the front wheels needs a decent differential. We have spent a great deal of time being annoyed with our dealers for letting this car rust away inside their showrooms, to the point where the days-on-hand is essentially infinite. So, fuck it, here’s a new color and a diff. Enjoy.”

And now that Ford has announced this special-edition final run with a sticker press that’s a couple of thousand less than the current RS2, well, you might as well put a giant Mr. Yuk sticker on any Focus RSes that are currently languishing in inventory. Would you rather pay $43,140 for a 2017 RS2 in Frozen White, or $41,995 for a 2018 Limited Edition in Race Red? (Please don’t ask me this question. I’m already very sad.)

Of course, you won’t be able to pay $41,995 for a Limited Edition, because, as usual, the worst thing about buying a Ford is the fact you have to buy it from a Ford dealer. Who wants to guess how much additional dealer markup, market adjustment, pound-me-in-the-ass prison variable dealers will ask for on these cars? $5,000? $10,000? $20,000? I mean, as long as you’re asking, why not go for a cool million?

Here’s the Bark prediction: that Ford dealers are going to turn the Focus RS into the Mitsubishi Evo Final Edition — a car that was competitive in its prime, but is still sitting sedentary on dealership lots across America. Put a reminder to check your iCal on July 13th, 2020, to see how many 2018 and earlier Focus RSes are still available for sale as new models at your local Ford store, where quality is assuredly job #2, right behind bending over customers.

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104 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: The Focus RS Is Dead, and Dealers Are to Blame...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Local Ford dealer always has a Shelby Mustang sitting in a special part of the showroom, roped off, right in front of the window so it can be seen. Car always sits for 12 to 16 months plus and I only realize that it has been sold when the color of the Mustang in the window changes.

    Of course this is the same dealer that took the one Ford GT they got back during the 2004-2006 production and kept it for himself, never actually selling it.

    • 0 avatar
      dubdublin

      It’s not like this is the first time the dealers’ greed has wound up killing off (or at least poisoning the market for) a good/interesting car: The reborn Thunderbird, Prowler, and even, going back a ways, the Pantera (which was sold by L-M dealerships, recall) all suffered from dealer arrogance and greed until they were stuck with the cars, and there are dozens more that were affected to a lesser degree (C4 ZR-1 Corvette, GT-R, GNX/Grand National, heck, even the little Shelby GLH/GLHS, which was the original super-hot hatch…)

      You’d think they’d learn. You’d think wrong…

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Yeah, the dealer where I bought my Mustang V6 for $20K always has some special edition in the corner with a $10K+ dealer adjustment, even though regular Mustangs, including GTs, are being sold well below sticker.

      But at least those special edition Mustangs are more powerful than anything else at the dealer. Although still horrible from a diminishing marginal returns perspective.

      What is funny is that these 350 HP Fusion RSes barely make more power than cheap 310 HP turbo Mustangs, get smoked by $30K 435 HP GTs and are even a joke compared to a 365 HP Taurus.

      And the Mustang is legit AF now with the independent rear suspension (although I have grown to like the roughness of the live axle). Euro weenies can’t bash it when it is the most popular sports car there.

      I don’t know what kind of self hatred would cause someone to walk past a Mustang GT and buy this tarted-up $14K Focus for $10K or more more than the Mustang GT.

      Hell, even the $14K Focus with the 1.0 liter I3 turbo and 6-speed manual is a cooler car than the RS, because it is not pretending to be something it isn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        tooloud10

        Not sure where you’re getting your info, but it’s laughable to say that a Focus RS is getting smoked by or is a joke compared to a Mustang GT or Taurus SHO. They’ve all got their pros and cons, but we could just as easily point out how much easier to live with the Focus than the GT, or how much better the RS performs than the SHO.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      I’ve only ever seen one Focus RS on my local dealer’s lot and they sold it rather quickly around MSRP. They can’t get Raptors or Shelby Mustangs because they don’t have a SVT franchise. They’ve brought in Roush Mustangs and pickups as well as Tuscany pickups. They have one “Black Ops” SuperCrew left but that is because it has an 8 foot box which is lot poison for that style of truck.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    The root cause of the problem is that there are just not that many North Americans who would pay that much for that car. Many still ‘buy by the pound”. Hatches are still considered to be ‘cheap cars’. Small cars are still considered to be ‘unsafe’. And manuals are ‘too hard to drive’.

    So for less money we can buy or lease a ‘prestige’ SUV or CUV or pick-up.

    • 0 avatar
      Mandalorian

      Don’t forget these things are sitting right next to similar priced Mustang GTs. It’s kind of hard to pass up on a V8 muscle car for a Focus, even a fast Focus.

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        Right, a hatch should be in the more reasonable end of the sports car spectrum. If it’s not, it better be compelling.

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        Bingo. Except I want to clarify that the Mustang was never a muscle car, and the new IRS one is a V8 4-series for $30K. Which makes it even more compelling compared to the Focus RS. Much better power AND much better handling. All you lose is the single moms you’re hitting on saying “oh, I have a Focus too, I guess the economy has been hard on everyone.”

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Well I sure as heck wouldn’t pay $20K over MSRP for a Focus, no matter how sporty it might be!

      Dealerships may think they know their clientele, but they’re learning they don’t know anything about them. The good ones are the ones who don’t try to cheat their customers OR their OEM.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Ha Ha, stupid Americans. What is your favorite manual transmission Ferrari or Lamborghini?

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Greedy MFers! That’s all I got.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    As unfair as this might be, I think the real folly of cars like this is that they have to be better than $40K cars that are new AND used. There was a time not long ago, I think, where this was actually possible; however car progress has been such a mixed bag lately that’s not necessarily the case.

    And the FoRS faces some unique headwinds… the three biggies I can think of being

    – its unnecessarily god awful ride quality, rendering it undrivable for much of the country
    – its roots- driving position is not that sporty, and the Focus interior is just not befitting of a $40K car
    – the fact that the Focus ST exists and can be had brand new for nearly half the price

    Even outside of general dealer incompetence and the counterproductive hype machine it had some real challenges. For my money I’d get an ST and put 1/3 or so of what I pocketed into an LSD, suspension/brake/tire work and a tune. Can’t utilize “drift mode” on my commute anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      SixspeedSi

      Exactly, the car had way too much hype for what it actually lived up to. If I’m paying 40 grand for a car, sorry I want some ride quality, especially with Pittsburgh’s (and many others terrible roads. The Golf R was a much better choice in my mind.

    • 0 avatar
      Nedmundo

      Completely agree, especially with points 1 and 3, poor ride quality and ST. They’re related, of course, because the ST has great ride quality for a sport compact, and low road noise too. Over on an ST forum, I’ve read a few posts from drivers who have eschewed the RS in favor of the ST — which can now be had for ridiculously attractive prices.

  • avatar
    NoID

    Tell us how you really feel.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    …They treated anybody under the age of 40 who was interested in one like they had leprosy…

    I see nothing has changed at Ford. When I was 20 years old I owned an ’85 Ford EXP free and clear and was working my ass off while going to college. I wanted to get an ’87 Escort GT so I went to a dealer that had one I was interested in. I was treated like…I had leprosy. Wouldn’t even let me take a test drive.

    Asked to talk to the sales manager. Pulled the title out on the EXP and opened up my checkbook register to show the balance.

    “I was prepared to write a check for that car, but I’m leaving now.”

    Suddenly I didn’t have leprosy. I walked.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      All this begs the question: How are people with leprosy treated. It’s a curable disease and less fearsome than portrayed in the movies I hope they are treated nicely, and given proper medications.

    • 0 avatar
      Coopdeville

      This is an age old problem and I’ve seen it from both sides. I’ve walked into a BMW store while making 6 figures and been told that they were currently out of any vehicles which were “less aggressively priced.” (By the way I think that’s an excellent line.) I’ve been the salesperson when the local beer-bellied concrete contractor worth millions wouldn’t take a specialty car because it had a whole 56 miles on it.

      Many if not all SERIOUS buyers of a $40k+ Focus, an $80k+ Shelby, a $70k plus Hellcat (all prices made up) don’t want a car that has any miles on it. How do you contrast that with Joe-20-Year-Old in front of you who might be a trust fund baby or some app selling genius…OR might just be some college kid who wants to test drive a cool car. I can’t ask, because then he’s offended. I can’t turn down his test drive, because then he’s offended. I can’t let him drive the car, because then aforementioned contractor with the 23 year old bottle blond stripper with fake tits hanging onto his huge tattooed bicep won’t buy the f’ing car. Now he wants me to special order him one from the factory that isn’t building them anymore. But he knows Joe Johnson up the street has one behind ropes, he’s going there.

      Do you honestly think that there aren’t a small but significantly sized group of people who just want to joy ride a test drive with no intention of buying?

  • avatar
    thegamper

    The dealership model will break eventually. They may have a powerful lobby, but nobody, and I mean nobody will be sad to see this model go. As soon as someone offers something different with decent offerings (Looking at you Tesla), bye…smell ya later.

    This will be disrupted just like any other industry one way or another.

    • 0 avatar
      hamish42

      I will never go into a new car dealer’s show room again. I have had a lifetime’s worth of b.s. already and I have a long way to go. I will buy my next new car when I can go onto Amazon, click the boxes, and have it at my front door. For now my son in law (he’s a service tech) helps me buy from the slightly more honest people who are selling online. The dealers, at least in Canada, are a bunch of lying jerks who still think that it is 1955 and a purchaser has to kiss their ass and pay whatever they want.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I won’t buy a new car again. The depreciation hit on almost everything in the first 2 to 3 years of ownership, balanced against the ATP of a new car leaves the only reason to buy new is snob appeal.

        All future rides will be 3 to 5 years old, used or a shorter-term incentivized lease.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I tried posting the link to this article in the “Email Seller” box on the dealer ad for the Evo Final Edition linked in this article, but it asked me to:

    “Please remove all profanity from your message.” Lol.

  • avatar
    OzCop

    35K is more in line with the value of those cars, base RS vs loaded ST 3…too bad Ford set the MSRP so high, and dealers put further screws to those attempting to purchase. As someone noted above, 40 plus is in SUV and Luxury territory…not to mention I have seen 2014 C 7 Corvettes priced in the 40s, and new one’s in the high 50 range. One could tell Ford to go fuck themselves…problem is, they already have…

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    $60K Ford Focuses aren’t selling? I’m shocked.

  • avatar
    RS

    Our local dealer has had 2 sitting on the lot for a while now. It’s a one price store. Both are selling for sticker price. (Which amounts to a markup on any vehicle.) At least there is no ‘market adjustment’ $$ added to the price.

    I suspect the price will lower and they will be sold…and in a few years, they will be start to appreciate as ‘collectible’ because of their uniqueness and low volume.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    The RS is dead, but doesn’t more of that have to do with a new Chinese-built Focus coming in 2019?

  • avatar
    SV

    Ford is not pulling the plug on the RS because of its US dealer network. It’s pulling the plug because the current generation Focus is at the end of its lifespan. One year from now the Saarlouis, Germany plant where the RS is made will be tooling up for the next-generation Focus, which means no more Foci of the current generation, including the RS. That means the current RS will have a 2 year run (2016-2018), in line with both its predecessor, which was only produced from 2009-2011, as well as the original Focus RS, which was only produced from 2002-2004.

    I think Ford is probably happy with how the RS has done. As of March, sales had averaged more than 500/month, not bad for such a specialty car. I believe that also beats the Golf R’s numbers, which is impressive considering the VW is softer and available with an automatic, which you would think would broaden its appeal.

    • 0 avatar

      If that were the case, they’d do a full year of 2018 production. Check the days-on-hand supply of Focus RS. It is as close to infinite as possible. Many dealers never sold a single one. Some only sold the pre-orders and then watch allocated inventory sit and sit, which is why 2016 models are still widely available.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        No, I think he’s at least partially right. dealers can’t give the non-RS Focus away either (A-plan pricing is insane, $5500 off sticker.) I wouldn’t be shocked if the entire Focus line has less than a full year of 2018 production, at least for North America.

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      Fair point in regards to inventory numbers, I hadn’t realized they were that high. At any rate, I agree with you that the dealers suck, and it’s not just a Ford thing. My kingdom for a direct sales model.

  • avatar
    YaMoBeThere

    Honestly, I’m glad dealers got greedy. I was ready to dive headfirst into wasting money on this thing last year. Instead I paid off my GTI and have one less financial headache in my life.

    Thanks greedy Ford dealers!

  • avatar
    AK

    Too expensive

    Horrible ride quality

    And on the off chance you do get to test drive one, the odds that you’re going feel what makes the RS better than the ST in a quick trip around the block is essentially zero.

    Seeing RSs languish on lots is not a surprise at all.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      and here’s another Internet Car Person!

      ICP: “We want the RS! Give us the RS!”

      Ford: “Here you go!”

      ICP: “Umm… it’s too expensive. and, umm, the ride’s too harsh.”

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Jim, I’d buy your argument if the market were hot for high-performance Focuses. If that were the case, then the Focus ST would have been a huge hit. It wasn’t.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        So true. I’m not sure what Ford expected but this is a niche vehicle with a niche market. Now jacking the price up in order to make that niche pay thru the nose seems like a terrible long term business plan.

        However as we all know the world is ruled by monthly spreadsheets and I’m sure the RS sticks out like a sore thumb. It likely shows up one some report every month that the manager thinks “this RS is STILL here? what is an RS anyway?” So interest level is high but buying level is low. What to do? Well jack up the price and pray for that one sucker to clear that rouge RS off the books. Can’t sell the RS? Perfect that guarantees you Ford doesn’t send another one your way which just takes up valuable F-150 or Mustang space on your lot.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          unfortunately, thanks to how much protection dealers have by law, there’s very little the manufacturers can do to discourage dealers from doing this. And honestly, it’s not really any skin off of the dealer’s @$$ anyway, is it? They might have one or two RSs on hand, and so long as they’re making enough money selling CUVs and trucks to make their floorplan payments (and then some) letting an RS sit for a while is no big deal. And if they do get some rube to pay that much for it, score!

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Thaaaat’s what people will $pend money on..BIG trucks and ess-you-vees!

          • 0 avatar
            DavidB

            Bark,

            I would love to learn about how a dealer’s floor plan loan actually works. Seriously, and especially how it relates to the Ford dealers hiking up the price of the RSes…

      • 0 avatar
        AK

        I have no idea what this means in regards to my comment.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    In general its difficult for a volume brand dealer to sell a limited edition machine, and even harder to sell a hot Focus when the same Ford showroom offers the sexier Mustang, cheaper Fiesta ST, or crazier Raptor. The hot Civics, Golfs, and WRXs don’t have any showroom competitors from the same brand, so its take it or leave it if you are a Honda, VW, or Subaru fan.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    The car was only slated to have a 2 year run. Dealers have not helped but they are not the cause of there not being a 3rd year.

  • avatar
    06M3S54B32

    +60K for any Ford is absolutely stupid IMO, much less a dorky hatch back. $64K is more than a BMW M2.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Time to lease a Continental, Bark.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I get why Ford dealers were reluctant to put people out on Focus RS test drives – putting a high performance car in the hands of someone who doesn’t have the foggiest idea how to drive it fast is dangerous, and opens the dealership to liability.

    Example:

    Back in the ’90s, I worked in a Chevy dealership. They were *very* picky about who they let drive Corvettes (they wouldn’t even let salesmen do it). The reason? Down the street, a Toyota dealership let two yahoos loose in a Supra Turbo for a little afternoon hoon session, and one ended up dead. The dead yahoo happened to be the president of very prominent and public local company. Insane lawsuits resulted.

    Sucks, but I get it.

    As for why the RS didn’t sell…base Focuses aren’t selling, and the ST hasn’t set the world on fire either, so again…sucks, but I get it.

    • 0 avatar
      namesakeone

      It doesn’t help matters that the current Focus has such a bad reputation (per Consumer Reports and others). Granted, most of the problems relate to the automatic transaxles (a problem the Focus RS doesn’t have), but it’s one more reason to keep buyers away.

    • 0 avatar
      b534202

      Nah, they don’t care if you know how to drive it or not. I was looking at these but the saleman offered me a test drive in a GT500 instead. I bet the GT500 is a bigger handful than the RS.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Great example of cognitive dissonance here. If you’ve bought a car, like bark, and its about to be cancelled, it can’t be that it is a bad car, or overpriced car, or unreliable car. No, it must be some other reason- those greedy dealers must be stopping the masses from discovered and buying the car like he did.

    I have a hard time seeing value in any focus – it had promise when it was introduced, but now it’s just an old, too small, fuel inefficient, unreliable Ford.

    • 0 avatar

      Did you even read, bro? I said it was just an okay car that was overpriced.

      “People are starting to figure out that maybe the Focus RS isn’t the best car ever, but merely an excellent hatchback that might have been slightly overpriced from the get-go.”

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    I thought I read a Bark article where he said that used prices can’t fall because dealers won’t let them, despite ten thousand years of human commerce indicating that this is not how markets work.

    Please explain how the dealers who can’t get whatever price they want for a new RS are going to be able to dictate the market for 2015 Equinoxes.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    When I was fresh out of college and looking for a new vehicle to replace my high miles b-body wagon I never had any difficulty test driving whatever I wanted, including a Mustang GT, Trailblazer SS, Magnum R/T, etc. Maybe I gave of a “car guy” vibe and was more trusted for that reason?

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    All good points, but it does make me wonder why we don’t hear about this problem at Subaru and Volkswagen dealers, and why those manufacturers seem to not struggle with the STI and R models. What are they doing right that Ford is doing wrong?

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    Bark, hate to break this to you, but as others have pointed out the Focus RS is a compact car sitting next to sports car with looks in Mustang GT at same dealer. A man must be crazy to buy the cheap looking boy racer Focus (I know RS is not cheap) when one can have the Mustang GT (or any other Mustang). A grown up man will never buy a Focus.

    • 0 avatar

      Oh, a guess a real man would never own a Focus. Can you tell me more about this Mustang? I’m not familiar with it.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      pmirp1, if we could post pictures here in the response I would. But, down the street from there is a garage with a Porsche Cayenne S, next to it some other Porsche and in the third bay and often outside is a Focus ST. The only children I see are elementary school aged when I drive by. So, your premise that a grown up man will never buy a focus is a bit of a stretch.

  • avatar
    raph

    Huh… all these comments about poor ride quality? It makes me wonder why Ford didn’t include mag-ride on the RS like it did the Shelby. Seems like a faux pas similar to the lack of an LSD prior to this model year.

    Hopefully if they have an RS for the next gen Fescue they will rectify the situation. Mag-ride won’t cure all the ills but it will work toward satisfying the chronic hemorrhoid crowd.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Should Ford really worry that much about ride quality in a vehicle focused on max performance for the dollar?

      Considering the loud paint, body kit, and exhaust, I think a harsh ride should be expected and is in character with the car. The car isn’t for everyone, and I think Ford deserves some credit for keeping it true to its mission, even at the expense of broader appeal.

      I look at the FoRS as a gift to a subset of enthusiast buyers. It was never going to be a big seller, and dealerships haven’t helped.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Smooth ride is just icing on the cake. Mag-ride is probably the Shelby’s best feature outside of the V8. The dampers soak up road imperfections like crazy and keep the wheels planted. On the Shelby switching to Track Mode prioritizes faster chassis response although the dampers still soak up bumps well enough in addition to raising the threshold where the nannies intervene.

        Its really outstanding technology and would be right at home on the RS unless there is some sort of technical reason they didn’t include it outside of cost?

        Ultimately that might have been the issue (cost) probably pushing the RS well outside the price cap Ford was going for.

        The GT350 and GT350R don’t use the same dampers or damper tuning when it comes to the mag-ride the R features different metering in the damper as well as the tuning required to work with its different suspension setup and even with mag-ride the R supposedly feels different (unfortunately I know a buddy that has an R but nobody who has done some comparative driving other than what I’ve read). Ford could have preserved the character of the R and given it a better ride had they included mag-ride IMO and still placated that subset of enthusiast that wants a punishing ride.

  • avatar
    V16

    If you need to scratch the ‘hot hatch’ itch, the arrival of the 2018 Golf R, should stop it.

    • 0 avatar
      tooloud10

      Except that virtually every comparison of the two put the RS on top. The R has the nicer interior, but the Haldex AWD is a deal breaker and the RS outperforms it all day long.

  • avatar
    s_a_p

    The problem with these is that those who are able to afford them aren’t necessarily into the 20something aesthetic that these carry. As a 40 something year old business owner this would have to be a secret weekend car that nobody knew I owned.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      What business are you in that driving a RS would be a problem?

      As a 34 year old white-collar STEM professional I’d drive an RS to work every day and anybody who was bothered by the “aesthetic” can get stuffed.

      • 0 avatar
        brenschluss

        If your standing amongst your peers is so easily diminished by the car you choose to drive, you either have my pity for being in an awful professional environment or working with petty clients, or that standing wasn’t on very firm ground anyway.

        Every day, I park my juvenile, bespoilered Fiesta ST between G63s and Denalis and Porsches and other luxury vehicles various, and it hasn’t seemed to bother anyone or hold my career back. And you wanna guess which car people want to take out to lunch?

  • avatar
    alvester

    The author absolutely nails it regarding the glut of Focus RSes now sitting around at dealers & why this is the case. The same Nitrous Blue one that I looked at at my nearest Ford dealer back in October is still sitting in the INDOOR showroom land-locked by other cars with no easy way of getting it out for a test drive. Back in October it was marked up by $8K.

    The salesman I talked to back in 2016 called me recently to tell me that the markups are now gone but in the meantime I started tracking USED RSes online in my area and saw that one was purportedly in his stock. So I agree to an appointment to come in test drive the used one, show up on the day we agreed upon only to find that the salesman (who now works in the used dept) realizes there on the spot while looking through on site inventory that the car has been relocated to another nearby sister dealership. Wow.

    Then to add insult to his own injury we go over and see the old October new RS (still land-locked) but it’s sat so long that the battery is dead. Then on top of that there’s a different and NEW Nitrous Blue just delivered to the dealership sitting in front with the white roof and hood protector still on it but it’s not even ready to be driven. He turned it on but that was about all he could do.

    That was the most pitiful sales experience I’ve ever had in buying a car. I even took my wife and we both wasted an afternoon trying to test out a car that I previously very excited about but at this point if I do test drive one and go for it I’m just going to sit back and watch them pile up in my area so that I can bargain a hefty deal. I’m already seeing a couple in northern NJ coming in below sticker price, lots of them sitting on lots since winter time as well as multiple low mileage ones at Ford and even 3rd party dealerships.

    I bet some of these low mileage ones were bought by folks that couldn’t even test drive them and weren’t happy with the stiffness of the ride.

  • avatar
    DudeMcLovin

    Welcome back Bark!

    I missed your snarky ass. I will have to keep coming to this Canuck site I suppose.

  • avatar
    scott25

    We had a GT350 in the showroom for months no one was allowed to drive because we couldn’t even sell it, since we aren’t a Ford Peformance dealer (we can’t sell Raptors either). It was from our sister dealership. The owner almost immediately started complaining about it taking up space, and most people didn’t even notice it since they just assumed it was a regular Mustang.

    We then got a blue RS which we were allowed to drive and sell, customers always stopped to look at it, and either were excited about it or incredulous of the 51k CAD MSRP (9k more than a Mustang GT) and it got traded to another dealer in exchange for a grey one which was sold to a customer within a month. So it sold within a month, that’s the only one we had, I don’t think that’s bad. I see a lot on the road, but I feel like American dealers are far more likely to go overboard on markup than Canadian dealers for this car, mostly because the price of it is already ridiculous here, in addition to being 9k more than a V8 Mustang it’s close to 10k more than a Golf R or STI as well, so you have to really want it to buy it.

    I personally would take an RS over a Mustang GT, less extroverted and pretentious styling (even though the body kit is still too much for me), it won’t be seen as a mid-life crisis car like a Mustang either. It’s way more fun to drive, feels faster and lighter, and sounds better (yes I love how turbo 4s sound). As long as you’re on a smooth road. The transmission in this feels totally different to the ST, since this is one of only two manual transmission cars I’ve ever enjoyed driving (the other was a first gen Honda Fit). As usual, the main negative point is those Recaros.

  • avatar
    Promit

    I bought an RS yesterday, and indeed missed this post because I was busy buying an RS. I talked to a good number of dealerships in the process and it’s actually very simple. Dealerships who are selling at invoice are moving the cars in a few weeks. Everyone else is just sitting on them, while their local customer base simply pays the $500 to ship an invoice priced car from elsewhere. Of course, you can’t test drive, but the STI and Golf R pull that scam too.

    Meanwhile you might note that most of the used RSes are being priced relative to MSRP rather than invoice. They’re basically not selling at all, unless the slow discounting finally adds up to a reasonable price. On the bright side, they will actually let you test drive these.

    I’m 30, and for some reason Baltimore has multiple dealerships selling invoice price RSes. I hopped in the WRX, drove twenty minutes, walked in, and bought an RS at invoice in a few minutes. Mine came in a trade with a Florida dealership who tried and failed to move it at 5k ADM in a retirement community.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    This car is garbage. The fact Ford is so arrogant as to charge $36k for one…or even more laughable $43k is insane. No Focus is worth that. These cars should be priced at $29,999 tops.

    I guess a higher output engine and a different grille are very expensive in Ford land.

    • 0 avatar
      anomaly149

      It needs a lot of new body structure to be able to fit the rear driveshaft and the rear diff. (plus all the massively different suspension, especially in the rear) It’s a “Focus” insofar as a decent number of stampings were reused, and a lot of the interfaces are similar (like seat tracks, etc.), but it’s a physically different body in white.

      Heck, an awful lot of it is physically different. And amortizing a 3 million dollar hood stamping tool, or a set of seat tools, or a new dash against Audi R8 production volumes adds a bit of $$.

    • 0 avatar
      ncwalls

      I think there’s a difference between “garbage” and a little overpriced.

      For a few thousand over the ST, you expect Ford to reliably add 100hp and 80lb-ft, improve the steering, suspension, brakes, shifter, chassis, tires and convert it to all wheel drive. (and I’m sure I’ve left out some things)

      Why would anyone buy an ST then?

      Heck I bet all the RS badging everywhere cost them a grand per car. :)

  • avatar
    anomaly149

    I think the biggest problem here is trying to sell rally-inspired cars in a country that has never had an appreciable love for rally racing.

    The Mustang makes sense here, we can conceptualize the Pony cars and Muscle cars in the same mental space as NASCAR. The RS doesn’t tap that same subculture, in the same way F1, “footy,” and socialized health care don’t. It’s a whole different set of signals than Richard Petty.

    Make no mistake, they’re trying to sell Sebastian Loeb to people that want to buy Richard Petty.

  • avatar
    palisadesnpo

    A coworker of mine order one of these when they were first announced…it took her over 8 months to get it, but she didn’t pay $1 over MSRP for it. I still think $42K for any Focus is insane, but it is what it is.

    In my experience, Ford dealers are the worst at marking up their hot, limited edition cars. GT350’s and GT350R’s seem to be marked up to incredibly outrageous levels everywhere.

  • avatar
    EAM3

    The dealer has always been the lowest common denominator. In December of 2003 I stopped at a Pontiac dealership near my job to look at a new GTO sitting out front. They did not allow test drives and was told I could drive it after I bought it. I then went to the Acura dealership down the street to look at the new TL. I asked for a black on tan 6 speed and they had it. I test drove it and signed the papers that night. For the next 6 months that same GTO I was interested in sat in the same spot until it was finally sold.

  • avatar
    dmoan

    Only reason these days I limit myself to shopping myself for brands like Acura, Infinity, BMW, Audi is so that I don’t have deal with Honda, Nissan, Jeep and other non premium brand dealers who seem to be god awful.

  • avatar
    ncwalls

    Sales disaster? Didn’t they have to move a bunch of 2016 orders to 2017 because of unexpected demand?

    Also I thought there was only ever going to be a 1 or 2 year run just like the previous RSes.

    Anyway, I don’t mind if they’re killing it because of low volume. Just makes mine more rare. :)

  • avatar
    427Cobra

    I’ve always detested the “market-adjusted price” tactic… but caveat emptor. I still think that’s what killed the re-launched Thunderbird in 2002. Ok… it was not THAT great of a car… but the “market adjustment” didn’t help any either. Being a cheapskate, I tend to favor loss leaders.

  • avatar
    jaybread

    The Albuquerque experience…
    I go into FCA dealer with a friend that wants to buy a Hellcat.
    They have 7 Hellcats on the lot.
    No! You can’t test drive a Hellcat.
    I say…”The BMW dealer down the street and the Porsche dealer up the street will let us test drive stuff right off the showroom floor, and the Audi dealer offered to let me drive an R8 without me even asking, but we can’t even start up a Hellcat?”
    Salesguy…”We have a different class of customers here.”
    We left.


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