Ford Ups Focus Production 30%

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
ford ups focus production 30

Ford is boosting production of its Focus compact by nearly 30 percent. Dow Jones (via CNN Money) reports that FoMoCo will use overtime and Saturday shifts to raise Focus output at their Wayne, MI plant from 191k to 245k units per year. Ford sold 49,070 Focii in the first quarter of this year, up 23 percent from the year previous. Even better, retail (non-fleet) sales bounced by 35 percent. Ford claims the Focus' SYNC voice-activated media system ("play Fatman in the Bathtub") has given it an edge over its competition. Unfortunately, Ford's exclusive rights to the Microsoft technology powering SYNC expires in November– leaving the Focus with little more than low price and way-better-than-an-SUV mileage. This might explain Ford's decision not to add a third shift at the Wayne plant. Whatever the future holds for Fords slice of fugly, the Focus is the Blue Oval's Mr Right Now, gaining ground on the imports in the brutal compact market. Just imagine how well it would be doing doing if it looked even a little more like its handsome European cousin.

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  • Johnson Johnson on Apr 15, 2008
    Buick61: As ugly as it is, it definitely grew on me. If I needed a car in this segment, this car would be near the top of my list: inexpensive, great MPGs, SYNC, low-emissions, and best of all, Built in the USA. Don't forget the high depreciation. FYI, the Corolla is built in the USA too. limmin: Lotsa people will be joining the Ford family, and staying for life. I highly doubt that. A lot of people are being attracted to the Focus by gimmicks. People are interested in the Focus because of the SYNC bandwagon. Once SYNC is no longer exclusive, or once competitors unveil their own SYNC-like systems, people will jump off the bandwagon and Focus sales will decrease. Gimmicks only help sales in the short term. In the long term, and especially in such troubled economic times, people will focus a lot of whether it's an inherently good car, which the Focus is not. Apart from SYNC and fuel economy, there's nothing inherently "good" about the Focus. The Mazda 3 is the most fun/best-handling in the class, the Corolla has a huge reputation and is the most refined/comfortable in the class, and the Civic is a swiss army knife sort of car that does everything quite well.

  • Blastman Blastman on Apr 16, 2008

    I'm going to wait another 6 months before I call the redesigned Focus a sales success. I'm not very impressed with the design and it will be interesting to see if Ford can sustain the sales increase for a longer period of time.

  • Johnson Johnson on Apr 16, 2008
    Blastman: I’m going to wait another 6 months before I call the redesigned Focus a sales success. I’m not very impressed with the design and it will be interesting to see if Ford can sustain the sales increase for a longer period of time. Exactly. Far too early to be jumping to any conclusions as of yet.

  • Jthorner Jthorner on Apr 16, 2008

    If you want to buy a US compact car the Focus is the best of the bunch. Also, Toyota has Corolla waiting lists right now due to the model changeover. Personally my money is on Ford to be the one of the 2.8 which comes out of the current crisis in the best shape. Chrysler gets my vote for Most Likely To Fold It's Tent First. Ford was a profitable company for many years with trucks at 25% of their sales, they simply need to relearn how to do it. The Focus and Fusion are certainly on the right track. Now they need to get the Taurus in the sales hunt and they will have a strong offering of small, medium and large cars. The next step is to bring back coupe, hatchback and wagon variants where possible. Put the new ecoboost technologies to work and Ford will have a very strong model lineup. The F150 can go back on a 10-15 year platform refresh cycle with the occasional trim changes to distinguish model years. The Transit Connect project looks like a good platform to move into the more efficient commercial vehicle market. The lucky thing for Ford is that they have the platforms and technologies in Europe and Japan to meet the needs and desires of a fuel cost conscious customer. Ford also has a rational US brand lineup because the Mercury products are just a nose and trim job. Ditch Volvo, fix Lincoln and keep Mercury as a high level trim option built off Ford platforms. Lincoln also needs to run on Ford platforms as most of it's vehicles have for many, many decades. Load 'em up with comfort and glitz, but keep the platforms common. GM is much, much further away from having a rational approach to brands than Ford is.