Ford Focus

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Ford Focus
2014-03-04 Geneva Motor Show 0825.JPG
Manufacturer Ford
Production 1998–present
Body and chassis
Class Compact car
Small family car
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel drive
Predecessor Ford Escort (Europe and North America)
Ford Laser (Asia and Oceania)

The Ford Focus is a compact car (C-segment in Europe) manufactured by the Ford Motor Company since 1998. Ford began sales of the Focus to Europe in July 1998 and in North America during 1999 for the 2000 model year.

In Europe, South America, North America and South Africa, the Focus replaced the various versions of the Ford Escort and Ford Laser sold in those markets. In Asia and Australasia, it replaced the Ford Laser. As of the first half of 2012, the Focus surpassed the Toyota Corolla to become the world's best selling automobile nameplate. The Focus has been considered one of the 50 greatest cars of the past fifty years by British magazine CAR.

Pope Francis is known to use a Ford Focus.[1]

First generation (1998–2004)[edit]

Ford of Europe introduced the Focus in 1998 to the European market as a replacement for the Ford Escort. The decision to name the new car the "Ford Focus" was made in early 1998, as Ford's overheads[clarification needed] had been planning to keep the "Escort" nameplate for its new generation of small family cars. A last minute problem arose in July 1998 when a Cologne court, responding to a case brought by the publisher Burda, ordered Ford to avoid the name "Focus" for the cars in the German market since the name was already taken by one of its magazines (Focus).[2] This eleventh hour dispute was resolved, however, and the car was launched with the name Focus. The Focus MK1 was awarded the 1999 European Car of the Year award [3] There is also a tale floating around certain editions of Motor Trend magazine that Ford executive Jac Nasser actually made the decision of the name Focus the night of that year's Geneva Auto Show because he was annoyed that one of the other names under consideration, Fusion (not the same as the mid-size automobile Ford Fusion), had leaked to the media.

Ford of North America began marketing the Focus in October 1999 for the 2000 model year as a surprise Christmas present for Ford's CEO Jacques Nasser, with some changes from the European version. The car launched as a 3-door hatchback, 4-door sedan and 5-door wagon; a 5-door hatchback debuted in 2002.[4]

Performance versions[edit]

ST 170[edit]

Ford Focus ST170

The Ford Focus ST170 (codename Piranha), which was launched in 2002, was the first Focus sport model to be developed for international markets by a joint SVE/SVT global team. Adapted from the Facelift Mk 1 Focus, the ST170 had the following cosmetic revisions: 17 inches (430 mm) Multi-Spoke Alloy Wheels; Alarm; Side Airbags; Optional 1/2 (in non-UK markets) and full Recaro leather seats; Optional 9006 Stereo system with bespoke Subwoofer; brushed aluminium door releases; honeycomb 'tech flec' front grills, round projector style fog lights, colour-coded bumper and side beadings & door handles; and Locally developed bodykit (Australia only). The engine was developed by Cosworth and tuning bumped the power from 130 to 170 horsepower (97 to 127 kW). Upgrades included: High-flow aluminium cylinder head; Variable valve timing; Dual stage intake manifold; Stainless steel exhaust system and exhaust manifold by Cosworth; Sports catalytic converter; Larger brake discs (300 mm front, 280 mm rear); Getrag 6-speed manual gearbox; Revised power steering 'falling-flow' pump and close ratio steering rack. The engine was sourced from the Ford of Mexico Chihuahua plant. The vehicle final-assembly was in the Ford Saarlouis plant in Germany, with some content such as the subwoofer assembled off-line at the ACÜ facility attached to the plant. There was an additional Wagon/Estate variant (codename Swordfish) launched in Europe-only in 2003, which featured Nivomat self-levelling rear dampers.

In America, a similar sporty version was launched from 2002 to 2004 called the SVT.[citation needed]


The Focus RS Mk I was produced from 2 October 2002 to 11 November 2003 and was Ford's return to the RS (Rallye Sport) badge after the demise of the tweaked Escorts, particularly the fabled Ford Escort RS Cosworth. Production was limited to about 4500 from the outset, and the car was largely built on its own assembly line in Ford's Saarlouis plant, with some additional specialist off-line assembly performed by the ACÜ group at Überhern. The RS was offered all over Europe, but 2147 were sold in the United Kingdom, by far its largest market.[5] The Mark 1 Focus RS was a limited production run available in 21 European countries.

Using a turbocharged version of the 2.0-litre Ford Duratec engine, the Focus RS rated at 212 horsepower (158 kW). A total of 4501 were produced at Ford's Saarlouis plant.

Ford famously[citation needed] over engineered the RS to such an extent that they lost around £4000 on every vehicle sold.[citation needed] This was due to 70% of the original car's parts being replaced[citation needed] - the engine for example is not far off WRC spec in materials and parts.

It would generate a steady 0.98G in lateral acceleration due to racing parts such as Sachs dampers, lightweight O.Z Alloy Wheels and a Quaife ATB Differential. It would also allow 1.0G of braking force due to the standard Brembo braking system 326 mm (Front) 280 mm (Rear).

Focus RS Mk I

The development of the Focus RS was undertaken by a mixed team of mainstream Ford engineers (not SVE or the TeamRS group which replaced it later on) and Tickford Engineering in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom. Originally it was to be released as the Racing Focus,[citation needed] however after the poor selling Racing Puma,[citation needed] Ford decided to revive the RS badge.

More bespoke than the prior Ford Focus SVT (badged as the Focus ST170 in Europe), the Focus RS upgraded or replaced 70% of the standard Focus mechanicals. The turbocharged straight-4 engine produced a minimum of 215 PS (158 kW; 212 hp) and 310 N·m (229 lb·ft) of torque, which was then mated to the 5-speed MTX-75 and not the Getrag transmission used in the ST 170. Mechanically, most notably, the car incorporated a Quaife automatic torque biasing differential to improve traction from the front-wheel drive setup. The steering used a similar quick-ratio rack as the ST170 while the brakes used fixed-caliper, four-piston Brembo units with 324 mm (12.8 in) discs at the front and single-piston floating calipers and 280 mm (11.0 in) discs at the back. Wheels were 18" alloys specially developed by OZ Racing. The engine was heavily modified with forged aluminium pistons, hardened valve seats, sodium-filled exhaust valves, stainless steel exhaust system. The forced induction system comprised a Garrett turbocharger with a water-cooled charge air cooler and an electric water pump. To transmit the higher torque an upgraded AP clutch was used.

The Focus RS was available in one metallic colour, Imperial Blue. The body looked similar to the standard Focus or to the ST170, although the RS featured unique front and rear bumper assemblies required for the wider wheel arches which accommodated the 65 mm (2.6 in) wider front track. Internally, the theme is blue and black with sections of blue leather trim on the door trim panels, the steering wheel and the Sparco seats which were trimmed in blue/black leather and Alcantara. A green starter button starts the engine. The instruments have a blue background and in place of the coolant temperature gauge, the RS was equipped with a boost pressure indicator (up to 1.5 bar). The gear lever knob, handbrake lever, and pedals were all custom made by Sparco.

All-around performance was roughly equal or better to its other competitors, including hatchbacks such as the Honda Civic Type-R and some four-wheel drive cars in the same price field.[citation needed] Power was a diminished priority and the handling on a track, courtesy of the front differential, was considered by most observers to be its strongest characteristic. In a Top Gear review, Jeremy Clarkson noted that "it lacks the straightforward oomph of a Subaru Impreza. [...] The reason it was quick round our track is simple: this car handles like it's in a cartoon." Clarkson and other motor journalists also commented on the car's torque steer on bumpy British roads.

SVT sales[edit]

Year US sales
2002 4,788[6]
2003 6,158[6]
2004 3,057[6]

Total manufactured: 14,003

Second generation (2004–2011)[edit]


2004-2007 Ford Focus 5 door Hatchback
2007-2011 Ford Focus ST 3 door Hatchback

The second generation Focus was launched at the Paris Motor Show on September 23, 2004 as a three and five-door hatchback and an estate, although the new car was previewed, in 4-door sedan form, as the 'Focus Concept' developed by Ford Europe at the Beijing Motor Show in mid-2004.

The basic suspension design, which contributed much to the Mk 1's success, was carried over largely unchanged from its predecessor which, along with a 10% stiffer bodyshell, offers a better ride according to Ford but lacked on the precise and poised handling of the Mk1.[citation needed] The same body styles as the Mk 1 Focus were offered, though the saloon did not appear until mid-2005.

The Focus Mk 2 is larger and considerably heavier than its predecessor: it has a 25 mm (1 in) increase in wheelbase, and is 168 mm (6.6 in) longer, 8 mm (0.3 in) taller and 22 mm (0.8 in) wider. As a result the interior and boot space have increased. New technologies include a KeyFree system, a solar-reflect windshield, adaptive front lighting, Bluetooth hands-free phones and voice control for audio, telephone and climate control systems.

Stylistically, the Mk 2 features the same design language[clarification needed] found in the Mondeo and Fiesta. Although still recognisable as a Focus, the new car uses styling features from the abandoned B-Proposal for the original Focus which never reached production.

In 2005, Ford released a MK.II version of Ford's sports division of Focus, the Focus ST. This one produced 225 bhp, over 50 bhp more than the MK.I ST, and could achieve a 0-60 mph time of just 6.4 seconds, and a 152 mph top speed.

The 2007-2008 SEASON saw a facelifted version introduced, featuring Ford's Kinetic Design philosophy. Major changes included a new bonnet with more creases, the removal of all mouldings along the doors and sides, new sculpted pull back headlights, and the big trapezoidal lower grille.

North America[edit]

For the North American market, development followed a separate path. Since debuting at the 2007 North American International Auto Show, the restyled 2008–2011 generation was available as a two-door coupe and four-door sedan; the hatchbacks and wagon were discontinued. The interior was redesigned, including new seats, a new dashboard design with message center on top of the dashboard, ambient lighting, dashboard panels that simulate brushed aluminum, and Ford's voice-controlled Sync audio/Bluetooth system. Also included in the redesign was a support beam behind the dashboard for extra structural rigidity. Though informally considered as the second generation, it was never officially referred to as such by Ford.

ST version[edit]

2005-2007 Ford Focus ST 3 door Hatchback.
2007-2011 Ford Focus ST (Europe), or XR5 (Australia and New Zealand) 5 door Hatchback.

In 2005 Ford unveiled a hot hatch version of the Mk 2 Focus. Called Focus ST, and available in either three or five door hatchback variant, the car uses a Volvo-based Duratec ST, a turbocharged 2.5 L 5-cylinder engine producing 225 hp (168 kW; 228 PS).

The Ford Focus Mk 2 ST is also known as the XR5 Turbo in the Australian and New Zealand market, but is sold as a five door hatchback only. In 2008 Ford, in conjunction with Mountune Racing, unveiled a power upgrade kit which raises the power output to 260 bhp (190 kW). the kit consists of: a K&N panel filter, larger intercooler and a re-map. No saloon version of the Focus ST has been released.

Third generation (2011–present)[edit]

Ford Focus Sedan (North America)
2013 Ford Focus ST (Europe)

In 2010 Ford decided to reunite both international and North American models by releasing the international Mk3 worldwide. The previous North American version was discontinued, and the new model was launched simultaneously in North America and Europe in early 2011, both having started production late in 2010.[7][8]

Ford unveiled the 2011 global Ford Focus at the 2010 North American International Auto Show. The car shown was a 5-door hatchback model, also debuting a new 2.0L direct injection I4 engine. A 5-door estate will also be available at launch.[9] The new generation launched simultaneously in North America and Europe in early 2011, with production having started in late 2010.[8] Production in Asia, Africa, Australia[10] and South America was scheduled to follow later but the plan for Australian production was later dropped and that market and New Zealand were supplied, along with Asia, from a new factory in Thailand where output began in June 2012. This new generation of Focus incorporates a redesigned cabin with improved materials and new entertainment technologies. A 2015 model for the Ford Focus has been exhibited on the Ford website. Its chassis design is much like the 2013 model, but the front has been facelifted with elongated and darkened headlamps, and a grille that is designed to look like the Fusion, or C-max. It will be available early 2015, according to Ford.[5]

Electric version[edit]

Main article: Ford Focus Electric

Ford debuted the all-electric Ford Focus Electric at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2011 to compete with the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt. Deliveries for fleet customers in the United States began in December 2011,[11] and the release to retail customers took place by late May 2012. The electric car is available only in California, New York, and New Jersey, in limited numbers.[12][13] The European release was scheduled for late 2012.[14]

Performance Versions[edit]

In summer 2012 Ford launched the Focus ST which had 247 bhp from a 2.0 turbocharged ecoboost engine. It has received many awards, including whatcar's hot hatch of 2013. It will be receiving facelift tweaks in summer 2014.


Ford previewed the third generation facelifted model at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show and is set for a 2014 summer launch.

Ford Focus – Special Award[edit]

Also presented on the Auto Express Awards stage, was a trophy for the all-new Ford Focus and its Driver Assistance Pack. The Ford Focus features an innovative digital camera system which supports seven driver assistance features that help deliver improved confidence and safety behind the wheel.

Mounted next to the rear view mirror, the forward facing digital camera captures a view of the road ahead which is analysed by a sophisticated on-board computer. The information from the camera can then be used to support the driver by helping them to stay safely in lane, remain alert at the wheel, monitor the latest traffic signs and operate headlamp high beam, for example.



The first Focus World Rally Car made its debut in rallying and the World Rally Championship on the 1999 Monte Carlo Rally with Colin McRae and Simon Jean-Joseph at the wheels of the two cars, replacing, for the first time in a generation, the venerable Escort. It was immediately on the pace, setting many fastest stage times, but a vehicle weight issue meant that the two cars were excluded from that event. McRae went on to give the Focus WRC its maiden victory on the Safari Rally in February of the same year and took victory again in the following rally, the Rally Portugal.

The MkI Focus WRC went on to achieve further victories over the years for McRae, Carlos Sainz and Markko Märtin from then until it was phased out in favour of the MkII offering in late 2005.[15] This car, a winner in both Marcus Grönholm's and Mikko Hirvonen's hands in the two-car factory BP-Ford World Rally Team that contested the 2006 World Rally Championship season, duly racked up the manufacturers' title,[16] spelling the end of a formidable twenty-seven year wait for such an honour in this series for the Blue Oval. The team successfully defended the manufacturers' title in the 2007 season.[17] The Focus WRC was used until the 2010 season, when it was announced that the new Fiesta will replace the Focus from 2011 and onwards.[18]

All the rally cars are built, prepared and run for Ford by M-Sport, the motorsport team based in Cockermouth, Cumbria in Northern England. The team is managed by Malcolm Wilson, a well known former British rally driver.[19]

Touring cars[edit]

Besides rallies, the Focus has also been used in the SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car Series, the TC 2000, resulting champion in 2003, 2005, 2010 and 2012.

A Focus was entered into the 2006 Swedish Touring Car Championship season.

The Ford Focus ST made its debut in the 2009 British Touring Car Championship season, with Arena Motorsport. During its second season, the car ran on Liquefied Petroleum Gas, taking the first BTCC win for a car powered by this fuel at Brands Hatch. In 2011, Arena (also known as Team AON) shifted to the newer Focus Mk3, while Motorbase Performance drove the ST version. Both cars had engines, built by the Next Generation Touring Car engine rules. Motorbase continiues to compete with the Ford Focus ST.

Arena Motorsport entered two Ford Focus Mk3s in the 2012 World Touring Car Championship season for Tom Chilton and James Nash. The best result is 6th place by Nash in the Race of Morocco.

In 2008 Ford South Africa entered two modified Focus ST models into Class T (reserved for turbocharged production vehicles) of the local Bridgestone Production Car Championship (essentially a Touring Car formula). They secured the Class T driver's titles in 2009 and 2011.

The car had success in the 2013 Chinese Touring Car Championship,[20] and won its class in the 2014 Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.


Year US sales
1999 55,896[21]
2000 286,166[citation needed]
2001 264,414[22]
2002 243,199[23]
2003 229,353[citation needed]
2004 208,339[24]
2005 184,825[citation needed]
2006 177,006[25]
2007 173,213[citation needed]
2008 195,823[26]
2009 160,433[27]
2010 172,421[28]
2011 175,717[29]
2012 245,922[30]
2013 234,570[31]


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  2. ^ Ostmann, Bernd, ed. (15 July 1998). "Focus nur fuer Auslands-Modelle: Gerichtsurteil gegen Ford". Auto, Motor und Sport (in German) 15 (9). 
  3. ^ "Rewind to 1999: Ford Focus.". Quicks. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  4. ^ "Ford Focus ZX5 five-door to debut this fall". 2001-02-14. Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  5. ^ a b "NUMBER'S UP FOR FORD FOCUS RS". 2003-11-11. Archived from the original on 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  6. ^ a b c
  7. ^ "Detroit auto show: 2012 Ford Focus, most significant by AW Editors' Choice Awards". 2010-01-18. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
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  9. ^ "Exciting New Next-Generation Ford Focus Gears Up For Launch" (Press release). 2010. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  10. ^ Beissmann, Tim (2011-05-02). "2011 Ford Focus on sale in Australia in August". Retrieved 2011-05-02. 
  11. ^ John Voelcker (2012-03-09). "2012 Ford Focus Electric: 105 MPGe, 76-Mile Range...10 Sales". Green Car Reports. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  12. ^ Nick Chambers. "2012 Ford Focus Electric Begins Retail Life with Low-Key Deliveries". Retrieved 2012-08-05. 
  13. ^ Bradley Berman (2012-05-04). "The Battery-Driven Car Just Got a Lot More Normal". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  14. ^ Eric Loveday (2011-03-30). "Ford Focus Electric won't be offered with battery-lease option". AutoblogGreen. Retrieved 2011-06-13. 
  15. ^ "Ford drivers excited by new Focus debut". 2005-11-04. Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  16. ^ "Wilson Sr: I will treasure this moment forever". 2006-11-20. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  17. ^ "Ford secures manufacturers' title - again". 2007-11-18. Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  18. ^ [1][dead link]
  19. ^ "BP-Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team". Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
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  21. ^ "Ford Motor Company Sets New Full Year U.S. Sales Record". Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  22. ^ "Ford Motors Company's December U.S. sales climb 8.2 percent" (Press release). Ford Motor. 2003-01-02. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  23. ^ "Ford's F-Series Truck Caps 22nd Year in a Row as America's Best-Selling Vehicle With a December Sales Record". 2004-11-17. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  24. ^ "Ford Achieves First Car Sales Increase Since 1999". 2004-11-17. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  25. ^ "Ford Motor Company 2007 sales". January 3, 2008. 
  26. ^ "F-Series drives ford to higher market share for third consecutive month" (PDF). Ford Motor Company. January 5, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  27. ^ "Ford caps 2009 with 33 percent sales increase, first full-year market share gain since 1995". 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2010-11-29. 
  28. ^ "Ford’s 2010 sales up 19 percent – largest increase of any full-line automaker; foundation set for growth in 2011". 2011-01-04. Retrieved 2011-06-01. 
  29. ^ "2011 Ford Brand Sales up 17 Percent for the Year in U.S.". 2012-01-04. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  30. ^ "Ford Motor Company Posts 2,250,165 Sales in 2012; Focus, F-Series Post Big Gains". 2013-01-03. Retrieved 2013-01-03. 
  31. ^ "Ford Motor Company Delivers Best Sales Year Since 2006". 2014-01-03. Retrieved 2014-01-06. 

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