Ford's New Focus Platform Is a Cash Saver

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Beneath the recently unveiled next-generation Ford Focus is an architecture that stands to proliferate through the Ford ranks, underpinning models as large as the Ford Edge.

While American consumers won’t see the new Focus until the latter half of 2019, well after buyers in Europe and China (where the U.S.-bound model will be built), the unnamed platform, which barely got any type of billing during the model’s reveal, stands to bring Ford’s front-drive vehicles into the third decade of the 20th century.

Speaking to Automotive News, Joe Bakaj, Ford of Europe’s head of engineering, touted the new front-drive platform as the “holy grail.” It’s the first of five planned platforms that will shape the future of the Blue Oval lineup — and one that stands to help the automaker save $4 billion in engineering “efficiencies” in the next few years.

Where will the platform appear? It’s versatile enough for vehicles as small as the Fiesta (not that Americans can expect to see another generation of that model), as well as the Escape and midsize Edge. “It’s very scalable,” said Bakaj.

The current Focus rides atop the automaker’s global C platform, which forms the basis of the Lincoln MKC, Transit Connect, and soon-to-be-completely-dead C-Max. Meanwhile, the Edge utilizes Ford’s CD4 platform, shared with the likes of the Lincoln MKX ( Nautilus for 2019), MKZ, Continental, and Ford Fusion. The Chinese-market Taurus — a wholly different vehicle than the aging and endangered U.S. model, also shares this architecture.

Key to saving Ford money over the near term is the fitting of certain components (like air conditioning systems) that the shared platforms allows. Bakaj references common hard points and dimensions, like the length between the ball of the driver’s foot and the front axle, that makes this setup cost-effective.

“You won’t use every module from the bottom to the top, but you’d try and reuse as many modules as possible,” he said.

The other four architectures in development by Ford include a unibody, rear-drive platform — debuting with the 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator — along with a body-on-frame truck/SUV platform, unibody van, and electric vehicle.

[Image: Ford Europe]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Conundrum Conundrum on Apr 16, 2018

    The Europeans will get Foci assembled in the EU for that finely-crafted feel where panels actually line up. "the unnamed platform, which barely got any type of billing during the model’s reveal, stands to bring Ford’s front-drive vehicles into the third decade of the 20th century." Right. And all but the go-faster models of the Focus worldwide revert to a TORSION BEAM rear suspension for that 1974 Golf feeling. Ford must expect to save Millions, I tell you, on rubber bushings alone! Now that's cost-saving engineering.

  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Apr 17, 2018

    I lost interest in the Focus and the new styling is kind of meh in that I don't see too many real changes from the outgoing generation (pre-facelifted ones were better to my eye). I've always tended to prefer Fords (at least if talking the big Detroit 2.5), but there is really nothing in their current line up that does anything for me. I owned a 2013 Focus SE 5MT, good mileage was easy enough and I averaged 33ish. I owned a 2014 Focus ST and realized I didn't need the power nor the attention from police (don't have time, money, interest to drive on a track). My current daily driver is a Mazda6 and it does everything I want while wearing decent sheet metal. It's large enough, smooth enough, gets good mileage and requires the fewest compromises for me. WRT Chinese production; are GM and Volvo having trouble selling their Chinese made offerings? Are there glaring reliability issues? I honestly don't know.

  • Glennbk First, Cadillac no longer has brand cache. And as such, the prices need to drop. Second, reliability. Cadillac doesn't have that either. Dedicate GM funds to re-design the High Value Engines. Third, interiors are too gimmicky. Take a step back and bring back more buttons and less black plasti-chrome. Forth, noise isolation. These are supposed to be luxury cars, but sound like a Malibu inside.
  • Dave M. Mitsubishi for many years built stout vehicles for whatever market they were in (specifically citing Mighty Max and Montero). In the '90s they became the LCD for high-risk borrowers; coupled on top of mediocre and stale product, interest in them waned. Aim for the niches (hybrids, small pickup, base CUVs). I find it interesting that they have a plug-in CUV based on/made by Nissan, but Nissan doesn't.
  • Glennbk Please Mitsubishi, no more rebranded Nissan products.
  • Wolfwagen What I never see when they talk about electric trucks is how much do these things weigh and how much does that detract from the cargo-carrying capacity?
  • Wolfwagen I dont know how good the Triton is but if they could get it over here around the $25K - $30K They would probably sell like hotcakes. Make a stripped down version for fleet sales would also help