The typical stereotype of sport compact drivers are males in their young twenties, many living at home, and deserved or not, a “Pizza Hut” or “Domino’s” light-up display on the roof. But for the Ford Focus ST, the Euro-inspired hot hatch is attracting some of the most affluent buyers to the brand. The company claims 32 percent of Focus ST buyers are under 35 years old, compared to 22 percent for the Focus line overall, with an average household income of $127,000, compared to $67,000 for non-ST Focus models, and $107,000 for the Ford brand overall. Among Focus ST buyers, 32 percent are younger than 35, compared to 22 for the entire Focus line.
In addition, the ST’s appeal breaks through stereotypes by appealing to buyers in both the Rustbelt and Sunbelt, with Detroit, Los Angeles, Houston and Orlando being the car’s biggest markets. Although overall year-to-date volume has not been huge at just under 12,000 units, the ST’s significance has been in its conquest rate, with 65 percent of buyers trading in a non-Ford model, with Honda being the most commonly-traded brand.
Although the F-150 Platinum or Shelby GT500 may be considered by many to be the Ford brand’s “halo” vehicles, Ford U.S. vice president of marketing, sales and service John Felice said the ST sub-brand is serving as a halo for Ford’s compact and subcompact models. Following the Focus ST, the Ford Fiesta ST has just hit the market, offering compact performance enthusiasts another affordable, economical option.