All in the family
Focus spin-offs are key to Ford’s future, writes Paul Gover
UP TO a dozen cars could eventually form the Ford Focus family around the world. The basic hatch and sedan are already confirmed, and now comes news from Detroit about everything from a battery-powered electric car to a high-roof wagon, a mini people-mover and even a compact SUV that shares the same mechanical platform as the Focus.
The Focus was the key to Ford’s presentation last week at the Detroit Motor Show on everything from electric cars to model diversification, and as it unveiled a range of new models including the C-Max and previewed the Focus-based Vertrek concept that will eventually be the replacement for the Escape.
‘‘Think of a platform as the go-kart that’s underneath a vehicle,’’ Ford global product boss Derrick Kuzak said.
The new Focus comes to Australia later this year from Europe before the supply line switches to Thailand, with the promise of much more variety for buyers, according to Peter Fadeyev of Ford Australia.
‘‘Ford Australia is working to add several Focus-based variants to its local catalogue in the coming years. The first model to be released will be the new Focus range, which will be in Australian showrooms in the second half of this year,’’ Fadeyev said.
Ford president Alan Mulally said the new Focus ‘‘ represented the ‘‘One Ford vision in action’’.
Mulally is most enthusiastic about the Focus Electric, which will become the brand’s plug-in battery hero. It is also being used to lever- age a range of new technology from affordable home charging stations to iPhone systems to remotely monitoring the charge of a car.
‘‘We know that many customers are looking forward to driving a zero-emissions electric vehicle and never having to visit a fuel station again,’’ Mulally said.
‘‘We believe most of these customers are prepared to embrace the reality . . . that a full battery does not last as long as a full tank of gas and that they will have to do more planning around how far they can go and how much they will need to charge and where to find a charge station.’’
Startmeup: Ford president Alan Mulally with (above) the new Ford Focus Electric and (left) the Focus ST.