There's One Thing Getting in the Way of an Even Hotter Ford Focus RS
The buying public wants one. You probably want one. But Ford executives on both sides of the Atlantic are growing cold feet over the idea of a hotter Focus RS.
The automaker is walking back expectations for the proposed RS500 and is ready to scrap the hotter hot hatch (scalding hatch?) idea altogether, Autocar reports.
Rumored to possess about 390 horsepower, Ford’s RS500 would top the already revered RS by 45 horsepower, and there’s no way it wouldn’t handle better. The project is already in the test vehicle phase, at least according to European spy photos.
Now, Ford claims the chances of this vehicle making it to anyone’s driveway stands at just 30 percent. What’s causing execs to pour cold water on what could be a scorching product? Other strong-selling products, including the RS itself.
Sources close to the issue tell Autocar that the RS500 “could be treading on other cars’ toes,” meaning, in this case, the Mustang.
Ford’s American dealer network is reportedly unsure of the RS500, with some worried it could take away some of the ‘Stang’s thunder. Only 40 hp separates the RS500 and V8-powered 2017 Mustang GT, and the V6 and EcoBoost four-cylinder models look puny in comparison.
On the other side of the Atlantic, Ford’s European operation also has doubts. The newly available Mustang sells well and is seen as an exotic prestige car, meaning there’s less of a concern about product overlap, but the RS brand itself could be threatened by the RS500. In response to cool interest from the U.S., Ford reportedly mulled an RS500 with less content — dubbed “RS500-lite” — solely for European buyers, but this idea ended up in the trash heap.
A source told the publication that an RS500-lite would “dilute the RS brand.”
Ford makes a point of selling global vehicles thanks to its “One Ford” strategy and it’s probably curtains for the RS500 if the U.S. won’t sign on. There’s also the possibility that demand for both the RS and RS500 would outstrip the capacity of Ford’s Saarlouis assembly plant in Germany, which had trouble filling orders for 2016 RS models.
[Image: Ford Motor Company]
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"There’s One Thing Getting in the Way of an Even Hotter Ford Focus RS" The one thing? The disastrous drive train The RS already defaults to FWD only after a few minutes of spirited driving. I'm not sure how the engineers are planning on pouring more HP and ft-lbs into the already undersized and inefficient RDU.
What's the profit margin for Ford RS vs stang?