Ford Focus RS Ending Production As Clouds Gather Over Model's Future

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
ford focus rs ending production as clouds gather over models future

It didn’t enjoy a long life, especially here in North America, and it didn’t make it through that short time span without an embarrassing engine defect, but good luck finding someone who’d turn down a hoon session in a Ford Focus RS.

As the king of all hot hatches, the Focus RS gave enthusiasts a sensible five-door for shuttling their kids to school and the ability to shred four tires into coleslaw on the trip home. Well, get ready to pick up a shovel. The Focus goes into its grave on April 6th, and the model line’s future has never looked shakier.

Built at Ford’s Saarlouis, Germany assembly plant, the final iteration of the AWD monster will be a 50-unit run bound for the UK.

Ford of Britain will offer just a handful of Focus RS Heritage Editions, each painted Tief (Deep) Orange, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Escort RS1600 — the brand’s first RS-badged car. After that … who knows? Given Ford’s current heading, relatively unprofitable cars like the Focus, currently in the grip of declining sales, could disappear from the market before too long. That, or return as a crossover-style vehicle, perhaps powered solely by electrons.

A next-generation Focus looms, but Ford punted assembly of future North America-bound models to China last year, rather than build them in a politically uncertain Mexico. Future Focus cars won’t have nearly the diversity of models past, either, as Ford’s streamlining plan allows for far fewer buildable combinations.

You’ll never be able to buy one here, but it’s worth noting that the Focus RS’ final examples benefit from content upgrades, while the already tuned 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder goes in for another testosterone treatment, this one provided by Mountune. Final specs are 370 horsepower and 376 lb-ft — an increase of 20 hp and 26 lb-ft.

North America’s final taste of the RS came last year when, for the 2018 model year, Ford offered U.S. customers 1,000 limited-edition models. Another 500 went to buyers north of the border. Since then, a deluge of complaints saw the automaker call back the entirety of its RS models to replace head gaskets that couldn’t keep coolant away the EcoBoost’s combustion chambers.

It’s possible we’ll see another RS once production of the next-gen Focus gets underway, but it’s an increasingly safe bet that such a variant would be the model’s last.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

Join the conversation
2 of 20 comments
  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Feb 15, 2018

    Maybe the RS will come back on the Escape?

  • Lon888 Lon888 on Feb 15, 2018

    Thanks to price gouging dealers here in OKC I have only seen 1 Focus RS in the wild and 1 is sitting a local Ford Dealers service line (I guess its awaiting parts for the cylinder head issue). Heck, I've seen a couple of Polestars around here and there's only around 550 in the whole world.

  • Redapple2 C2 is the best. C3 next. Then C7 (looking at you jimII).
  • Jeff S Vulpine--True the CAFE rules are for ICE.
  • Gray I grew up in the era of Panther and Fox platforms. If only they developed a good looking two door Conti. The four doors became a cult in their own right. And kept the 351W as a top line option.
  • Vulpine ABSOLUTELY YES!!! Bring back the TRUE compact trucks. The demand for them is far higher than the OEMs want to admit.
  • Brn More likely, with Google having troubles, the money tree isn't as ripe as it once was and cutbacks are needed.I hope the overall industry continues to evolve. When I get the the point I can't easily drive, I would still appreciate the independence that autonomous vehicles can bring.