There's One Thing Getting in the Way of an Even Hotter Ford Focus RS

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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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  • RetroGrouch RetroGrouch on Oct 25, 2016

    "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.

    • Bazza Bazza on Oct 25, 2016

      I don't know how brittle the RDU actually is, but if anecdotes bear out then the design margin is almost zero for what the car was ostensibly built to do (hoon). AND Ford would have known that through testing, so why didn't they beef it up? This is almost BMW-level shenanigans.

  • Sector 5 Sector 5 on Oct 25, 2016

    What's the profit margin for Ford RS vs stang?

  • ToolGuy "We're marking the anniversary of the time Robert Farago started the GM death watch and called for the company to die."• No, we aren't. Robert Farago wrote that in April 2005. It was reposted in 2009 on the eve of the actual bankruptcy filing.The byline dates are sometimes strange/off with the site revisions (and the 'this is a repost' note got lost), but the date string in the link is correct (...2005/04...). Posting about GM bankruptcy in 2005 was a slightly more difficult call than doing it in 2009.-- The Truth About Calendars
  • Kat Laneaux Agree with Michael500, we wasted all that money just to bail out GM and they are developing these cars in China and other countries. What the heck. I understand the cheap labor but that is just another foothold the government has on their citizens and they already treat them like crap. That is pretty disgusting to go forward to put other peoples health and mental stability on a crazy crazed, control freak, leader, who is in bed with Russia. Thought about getting a buick but that just shot that one out of the park. All of this for the greed. They get what they lay in bed with. Disgusting.
  • Michael500 Good thing Obama used $50 billion of taxpayer money to bail them out and give unions a big stake. GM is headed to BK again with their Hail Mary hope of EVs. Hopefully a Republican in office will let them go BK the next time, and it's coming. The US economy is not related/dependent on GM and their Chinese made Buicks.
  • MaintenanceCosts "Rural areas hardly noticed COVID at all."I very much doubt that is true in places like the Navajo Nation or the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, some of which lost 2% or more of their population to COVID.No city had a death rate in the same order of magnitude.Low-density living is a very modern invention. Before cars, people, even in agricultural areas, needed to live densely to survive.
  • Wjtinfwb Always liked these MN12 cars and the subsequent Lincoln variant. But Ford, apparently strapped for resources or cash, introduced these half-baked. Very sophisticated chassis and styling, let down but antiquated old pushrod engines and cheap interiors. The 4.6L Modular V8 helped a bit, no faster than the 5.0 but extremely smooth and quiet. The interior came next, nicer wrap-around dash, airbags instead of the mouse belts and refined exterior styling. The Supercharged 3.8L V6 was potent, but kind of crude and had an appetite for head gaskets early on. Most were bolted to the AOD automatic, a sturdy but slow shifting gearbox made much better with electronic controls in the later days. Nice cars that in the right color, evoked the 6 series BMW, at least the Thunderbird did. Could have been great cars and maybe should have been a swoopy CLS style sedan. Pretty hard to find a decent one these days.