Ford: Manual-Only Plan For 2015 Focus 1-Liter "Sensible" For US Market
Despite a majority of U.S. consumers preferring automatic transmissions over manual offerings, Ford’s plan to offer the 1-liter EcoBoost with only a six-speed manual for the 2015 Focus is seen by the automaker as a sensible decision for the home market.
Ward’s Auto reports U.S. Focus customers are more likely to choose a manual over an automatic — the lineup as a whole as a take rate of between 12 percent and 13 percent — if not the desire to learn how to shift, according to Focus marketing manager Seema Bardwaj:
We see younger customers who think it’s cool and think they are better engaged with the vehicle (with a manual). We see that in that customer that you may not see in other vehicle segments.
In addition, Ford believes U.S. consumers may not find the dual-clutch automatic offered with the engine elsewhere to their liking, citing customer reaction toward the technology — and complaints of abrupt shifting that was later fixed through software updates — behind its reasoning. Last year, TTAC reported that the 1.0L/Powershift combo in the Fiesta was axed, due to concerns over NVH. This may have been the case for the Focus as well.
However, the take rate for the pairing under the Focus may be lower than hoped, which may lead to an automatic behind the 1-liter down the line. In the meantime, Ford hopes the engine more than makes up for the lowered expectations, thanks in part due to its fuel economy; under the hood of the Fiesta with the same transmission, the B-segment car delivers a combined 37 mpg.
I hope it succeeds...and this is probably a move designed as much for CAFE as anything else.
OMG! What is that tall yellow vehicle on the right edge of the photo?! Unless those guys near it are munchkins, it's significantly taller than a Soul. Ohh... found it on the Ford site, the new passenger Transit Connect. Had NO idea it would be so different from the commercial version. Serious love.
Ok, it looked good on the Fusion, but does every Ford have to have an Aston Martin front.
Watching (US) carmakers going for smaller and smaller engines, with or without manuals is putting a smile on my face. This focus is basically a 'typical EU car' for the people. This configuration (small engine, manual) is very popular here, mainly because gas is super expensive (€1,68 per litre right now at the cheapest self service pump over here), so MPG or KM/L is essential for most people. I can only dream of the cost if you drive this efficient car in the US with your gas prices. I personally don't like driving manuals (traffic conditions over here are horrible compared to what I've seen from the US), but lately there's more choice in automatics over here. And you are getting more and more manuals, so there is fun in it for everyone. I'm very curious to see sales numbers for this particular car.