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Designed from scratch, the all-new Focus offers new and improved technology, comfort, space and driving experience for customers seeking a mid-sized car. The expanded line up will include a Focus Active Crossover and an upscale Focus Vignale.
First unveiled in 1998, twenty years ago, the Ford Focus has come a long way, and with the launch of its latest model, Trusted Dealers takes a look back at the history of this iconic car.
Manufactured in 1998 by the Ford Motor Company, the Ford Focus was originally designed under Alex Trotman’s Ford 2000 plan, which was aimed at production of one compact vehicle which would sell worldwide. The Ford Focus was built to succeed the popular Ford Escort, and since its launch, it has proved to be a huge success, remaining one of the most popular cars on the road.
The original Ford Focus mk1 was initially launched in July 1998 with three different versions available, a 3-door hatchback, a 4-door sedan and a 5-door wagon. By the end of its first year of production, the Focus had already won the title of 1999 European Car of the Year, acting as a benchmark for affordable motoring .
The Ford Focus mk1 remained a top-seller in Europe, America and Asia (known as the Ford Laser in Asia), with drivers attracted to its excellent handling, strong performance and outstanding value for money.
The success of the Focus allowed Ford to look beyond the reliable family people transporter and towards a model built for speed which provided a racing-style experience to its occupants. Released in 2002, the Ford Focus RT came with a 2.0-litre Ford Duratec engine with an overall output of 212 bhp. Originally just over 4500 models were built, and Ford admitted at the time that they actually lost almost £4,000 on each model as 70 per cent of the original car had to be replaced to conform with the specifications – the RT has now become one of the most sought-after models in the world.
The second generation Ford Focus mk2 was eventually released in 2005 after the mk1had enjoyed seven successful years, and the latest model implemented all of the same attributes as its predecessor as well as a revised body shape and a host of new technologies.
The safety credentials for the new model were outstanding, gaining five stars for adult protection and four out of five stars for child protection and full marks on the front impact test, marking the best ever Euro NCAP ratings in its class ahead of competitors such as the Vauxhall Astra and the Volkswagen Golf to name but a few.
Technical improvements on the mk2 included a Bluetooth hands-free phone system, adaptive lighting and a solar reflect windshield – all of which offered a premium driving experience for a competitively low price keeping the popularity of the Focus extremely high.
Making its debut in 2009 at the British Touring Car Championship season, and following on from the Ford Focus RS, the Ford Focus ST came with a Duratec ST 2.5L 5-cylinder engine capable of producing up to 225bhp and a top speed of 148mph. The ST was a model built for speed; running on liquefied petroleum gas, it took it’s the first BTCC win for a car powered by this fuel at Brands Hatch. The ST remains an icon among buyers seeking a speedy hatchback car.
Released in 2011, the Focus continued its deliver the very latest in power and technology to its customers, making it a popular choice in a crowded market. One of the reasons for its continued popularity was the inclusion of the Ford EcoBoost engine, a power source capable of combining superb power with impressive levels of engine efficiency.
Ford Focus Electric: 2012-
By 2012, Ford Focus was the best-selling car in the world, which gave the company the confidence to introduce a new type of Focus to the market, the Ford Focus Electric, which was powered by a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack and offered an impressive range of 100 miles with a top speed of 84mph.
The latest all-new Ford Focus to be introduced to the market this week promises “to provide the most confidence-inspiring, intuitive, and rewarding driving and occupant experience of any mid-size family car in Europe.” Focus introduces a new human-centric design philosophy that fuses emotional exterior styling with class-leading aerodynamics; and delivers an interior offering more space combined with high quality materials and the most sophisticated range of Ford driver assistance technologies ever offered to Ford customers to enable an intuitive, stress-reducing and refined driving experience.
Ford has sold almost seven million Focus cars in Europe, and more than 16 million around the world since the game-changing first generation Focus was introduced in 1998.