By on April 16, 2018

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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24 Comments on “Ford’s New Focus Platform Is a Cash Saver...”


  • avatar
    vvk

    > bring Ford’s front-drive vehicles into the third decade of the 20th century

    21st century?

  • avatar
    dwford

    Wasn’t it just a few years ago (ok 10) that One Ford was supposed to save billions by commonizing cars across the globe? Now Ford has come out with these new architectures that are supposed to save more billions. How much waste is there in developing cars?!

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      While the idea of One Ford was good, the implementation was astoundingly bad.

      Very expensive platforms that resulted in going cheap on a lot of components.

      Profits now, recalls later was Big Al’s plan to save ford. Short term gains, long term losses.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      I also find this claim of huge new commonalities and savings bit mystifying. Like the stated example of air conditioning systems. What are they not sharing now that they can start sharing? Does this mean that the Ford Edge will now get the same cooling capacity as a Ford Fiesta?

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        SPPPP,
        Flexibility from a platfrom will generate greater profits, or better still and more honestly it will maintain a more competitive position.

        Even the Highlander is really a Camry.

  • avatar
    earthwateruser

    I call BS on $4 billion in “engineering savings.” I suspect that $4 billion amount includes savings (aka profit) Ford will realize by manufacturing the new platform cars in China and selling them in the U.S. and other high income nations.

    • 0 avatar
      Asdf

      That won’t work, however, because the only way to sell crappy Chinese-made vehicles in the US and other high-income nations is cash on the hood, and LOTS of it. That will diminish any potential cost savings of building the cars in China, which will also irreparably tarnish the Ford brand, eventually leading to its bankruptcy.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Asdf,
        You are learning! The US can only make crappy big cars, with lots of protection.

        Luckily for the US no one makes big crappy cars.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          There are no more “crappy” cars for sale in the US new. Lemon Laws ended the practice. This is the mystical “Protection” you squawk about endless.

          But the crappiest cars would be VW, LR, Fiat, Mini, BMW, Huyndai, Kia, Mercedes in that order.

          The truck-based may lose a hair in fit-n-finish but more than make up for it in unmatched reliability, overbuilt for normal everyday use.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Looks like a low flying CUV in that picture.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    It’s all leading to transportation pods, not cars.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    Ford engineers it’s own version of VW’s MQB.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    As a long time Ford fan I am here to tell you they dont need a Cash Saver they need an Azs Saver. Please stop compromising on your vehicle’s. You short change us with headroom, fit and finish and real world MPG’s. It drives, rides and steers perfectly fine like most Fords do. However the Focus suffers from the same ailments as the Fusion and even more so since it lacks head and leg room.

    I realize that there is no such thing as a perfect car. Hell if it was Mazda would have a Mazda 6 and CX9 with a BMW TT v6 with a 10 speed auto.

    It just seems like Ford has flashes of greatness when they first start planning the car and then while building it they realize that they are in it to just make money and not fans.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    I wonder if they will advertise that its made in China. I think that much like the Envision people will find out word of mouth. Thats when the cash on the hood will happen. At the end of last year the Envision had nearly 9 grand on the hood here in JaX, FL.

  • avatar
    DownEaster

    I drove Fords for years, Escorts, Focuses, Rangers, and a Bronco II. Looked at the new Focus a few years ago and couldn’t stand how they changed the controls and interior comparing my 2007 to a 2013. Kept the 2007 for a couple more years. Ford need to make its cars simpler and keep the Focus Made in the US. I think that Ford will have a hard time selling Chinese made Focuses.

  • avatar
    Magnusmaster

    Apparently they aren’t going to save money in South America, despite having huge losses, because they will still build the sixth-gen Fiesta and third-gen Focus here for the foreseeable future.

  • avatar

    How Fusion fits into this picture? Edge yes but Fusion no?

  • avatar
    conundrum

    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.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    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.


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