When Ford unveiled the much-anticipated 2012 Ford Focus hatchback and sedan at the 2010 Detroit show, it held back the Focus wagon version for Geneva instead. Why wait? It’s no secret wagons are much bigger in Europe, and with roughly a year before the new Focus actually hits the road, Ford needs to keep the hype machine rolling.
The 2012 Ford Focus Wagon is the fifth variant derived so far from Ford’s new Global C-car platform, the development of which is part of its evolving “One Ford” effort. We first saw the platform underpinning the C-Max and Grand C-Max at last fall’s Frankfurt motor show, then the Focus sedan and hatch in Detroit. Ford has plans for at least five more cars derived from the platform. The U.S. market will see several of those vehicles, but the Focus wagon reportedly won’t be one of them.
While almost entirely developed in Europe, the new Focus line will be approximately 80 percent identical across the globe, with the other 20 percent accounting for subtle differences in taste according to individual markets. Even suspension tuning is virtually identical. So why aren’t the choices of body style? The short answer: Americans don’t dig wagons.
We are getting the funky five-door Focus hatchback, however, which is almost as versatile as a wagon and doesn’t come with the negative stigma. Indeed, Americans appear to be warming up to the idea of hatchbacks if orders for the Fiesta -- Ford’s other new world car – are any indication. So far, Fiesta orders in the U.S. are reportedly evenly split between sedan and hatches.
In addition to getting the Focus Wagon, the Europeans are also getting diesel engines for their Foci. A 2.0-liter Duratorq TDCi engine lineup is available in 161, 138, and 113 hp flavors, while the 1.6-liter Duratorq TDCi can be had with 113 or 94 hp. Ford hasn’t released any torque output for the diesels yet, but we do know the automaker will offer its six-speed dual-clutch automatic (aka PowerShift) transmission with the 2.0-liter diesel engines.
Other exciting engine news for non-Americans includes the launch of the 1.6-liter EcoBoost I-4 engine, which will produce up to 177 hp in the wagon. Ford will offer the EcoBoost engine with 148 or 177 hp in Europe. Again, Ford is withholding torque ratings on its EcoBoost engine at this time. U.S.-bound Foci will only have a 2.0-liter I-4 producing 155 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque.
A gem buried inside Ford’s press release is confirmation of the forthcoming high-performance Focus for global markets. Derrick Kuzak, group vice president for Product Development, said, “Our commitment is to deliver an exciting performance model of the new Focus on a global basis and using a version of our advanced new Ford Ecoboost petrol direct-injection turbo engine.” When asked about the possibility of a potential Focus RS coming to the U.S., Jost Capito, father of the original Focus RS, recently told us, “there’s no reason if there’s one in Europe, it wouldn’t be here.” Capito also thinks the RS name has enough following in the U.S. to be used here, but we still haven’t got confirmation of how the hot Focus will be named around the world.
Ford’s commitment to adding technology to small cars is evident on the Focus feature list. Everything from Sync to torque vectoring control to adaptive cruise control will be available on the Focus, though not every technology will be available in every market. Ford is willing to bring any and all of the technology features to any market with enough demand to create a business case, so if enough Americans demand active cruise control and are willing to pay for it, it’s easy for Ford to add the feature.
So while Ford’s willing to port over popular tech features as markets dictate, not every market will get every model built on the Global C-car platform -- at least not initially. The last Ford Focus wagon only managed about four percent of sales in the U.S., so Ford apparently isn’t wasting the money this time out to sell it here.
In addition to technology, Ford is willing to pack unexpected luxury features into the Focus as well. Besides this Focus wagon, Ford unveiled an electric yellow Focus 5-door hatchback at its event the evening before the first Geneva press day, and this car was lined with black leather seats with yellow piping. This trim, something you might expect to see in a Jaguar, not a Ford, surely isn't intended for the U.S. market as well, is it? we asked Ford's global marketing director, Jim Farley.
"Sure, we could do that," came the unexpected reply. Farley elaborated: "That's part of our European-market Individual program, and we'd probably use a different name in the United States." Farley definitely sees a market desire for it and then asked us a question. "We've taken 7000 pre-orders for the Fiesta already in the states," he said. "Guess what percentage have ordered leather?" The answer is, 80%. The clear implication being, if Fiesta buyers in America want leather, some Focus buyers in America also will be interested in leather with piping.