Can you af­ford a Ford?

The Advertiser - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - CRAIG DUFF

FORD has re­acted to a big slump in sales of its Fo­cus small car by drop­ping the cheap­est model and mak­ing the rest of the range more ex­pen­sive.

The un­usual strat­egy, which ef­fec­tively means the price of the cheap­est Fo­cus in­creases by $3100, sig­nals a de­lib­er­ate move away from fleet sales.

In place of four vari­ants with three en­gines the re­vised range adopts a 1.5-litre tur­bocharged en­gine and the en­try price rises to $23,390 for the Trend hatch with a six-speed man­ual.

Ford Aus­tralia spokesman Neil McDon­ald says the de­ci­sion to drop the en­try Am­bi­ente is based on the buy­ing habits of ex­ist­ing Fo­cus cus­tomers, most of whom are look­ing for ve­hi­cles with ex­tra fea­tures.

“Es­sen­tially the Am­bi­ente rep­re­sented about 12 per cent of the share of to­tal Fo­cus sales (YTD 2015). The Trend is the over­whelm­ingly pre­ferred model (about 60 per cent of Fo­cus is Trend),” McDon­ald says.

“So by re­pro­fil­ing the line-up and adding more fea­tures, there’s a bet­ter op­por­tu­nity for Fo­cus cus­tomers, who want more fea­tures in their cars.”

The tur­bocharged EcoBoost en­gine is a pearler and its out­puts of 132kW/240Nm are 7kW/38Nm up on the 2.0-litre en­gine it re­places. The pre­vi­ous 1.6-litre en­gine — used to power the Am­bi­ente — has also been dropped, as has the 2.0-litre turbo diesel.

“We only had a less than 3 per cent take-up for the TDCi (diesel) en­gine and with the fuel ef­fi­ciency be­ing de­liv­ered by our EcoBoost tech­nol­ogy, cus­tomers are get­ting per­for­mance and a broad spread of torque from low in the rev range,” McDon­ald says.

The price of the Fo­cus Trend hatch is $1100 up on the out­go­ing car but the up­dated model adds Ford’s Sync2 in­fo­tain­ment soft­ware, satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion and a re­vers­ing cam­era. Opt­ing for a six-speed auto costs another $1000.

The most ex­pen­sive Fo­cus is now the Ti­ta­nium hatch or sedan with a six-speed auto for $32,690.

The price in­cludes an up­dated ver­sion of Ford’s Ac­tive City Stop au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing that op­er­ates at up to 50km/h. It also gets blind spot warn­ing and rear cross-traf­fic alert.

Fuel con­sump­tion is 5.8L/100km for the man­ual ver­sions, ris­ing to 6.2L/100km for the au­to­mat­ics and top­ping out at 6.4L/100km on the Ti­ta­nium.

All mod­els have up­dated sus­pen­sion and re­tuned steer­ing to im­prove feel. The ex­te­rior changes are mi­nor but the but­ton-blinged cen­tre con­sole has been re­placed with an eight-inch touch­screen and ac­com­pa­ny­ing de­clut­tered look.

The Fo­cus also in­cludes the MyKey con­trol sys­tem, where the sec­ond car key can be pro­grammed for in­ex­pe­ri­enced driv­ers. It lim­its the speed, con­trols the vol­ume of the sound sys­tem and stops safety sys­tems such as sta­bil­ity con­trol from be­ing dis­abled.

The up­graded Fo­cus range goes on sale in Oc­to­ber and Ford will be hop­ing the re­vised po­si­tion­ing helps re­verse a slump that has seen sales of its small car drop by al­most 54 per cent to date this year.

Morre fforr morre:: The 20115 Forrd Foc­cuss due iin Oc­ct­to­berr

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