Ford's New Focus Platform Is a Cash Saver

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
fords new focus platform is a cash saver

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]

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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.

  • Zerocred So many great drives:Dalton Hwy from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle.Alaska Marine Highway from Bellingham WA to Skagway AK. it was a multi-day ferry ride so I didn’t actually drive it, but I did take my truck.Icefields Parkway from Jasper AB to Lake Louise AB, CA.I-70 and Hwy 50 from Denver to Sacramento.Hwy 395 on the east side of the Sierras.
  • Aidian Holder I'm not interested in buying anything from a company that deliberately targets all their production in crappy union-busting states. Ford decided to build their EV manufaturing in Tennessee. The company built it there because of an anti-union legal environment. I won't buy another Ford because of that. I've owned four Fords to date -- three of them pickups. I'm shopping for a new one. It won't be a Ford Lightning. If you care about your fellow workers, you won't buy one either.
  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.