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The History of the Ford Focus

The Ford Focus is a phenomenal success story within the modern global automotive market. Since its first introduction in Europe during 1998 it has gone from strength to strength and yet showing no signs of stopping. In fact, it was recently named the most popular car of the United Kingdom!

The lovable compact car has become a great hit for a wide variety of drivers, from young first time buyers to small families. As a follow up to the legendary Escort, the Focus uses a simple yet robust layout with a front mounted engine and front wheel drive system. Over 3 generations of development, the focus has remained true to its roots and popularity has yet to wane.

1st Generation Focus (1998-2005)

The Focus was launched into the European market during 1998 to take over from the Ford Escort. It was decided that the company wanted to reserve the Escort name for a new range of family cars. Ford experienced some last minute problems over the use of the name in Germany, however this was resolved and the Focus name was secured.

In 1999 the Focus entered the American market, selling nearly 56,000. On the other side of the world it earned itself a European Car of the Year award! The Focus range currently included a hatchback with 3 doors, sedan with 4 doors and wagon with 5 doors. Ford also went on the release performance versions of the Focus such as the ST170 and RS. These models focused primarily on increasing engine power and handling for a more exciting driving experience.

By 2000 the company reached its greatest sales figures of over 286,000 in the US market. This figure dropped over the years but still remained over 200,000 until the second generation was released.

2nd Generation (2005-2010)

Ford’s second generation of the Focus was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show of 2004. The range included a 3 and 5 door hatchback then the 4 door sedan was later shown at the Beijing Motor Show.

The simple but effective suspension was mostly carried over from the 1st Gen model with little changes to its design. Since the suspension was widely admired there was little need for a complete redesign. However Ford did seek to further improve the handling by stiffing the 2nd Gen’s body by around 10%.

The new Focus was a little bigger and weighty than its younger brother. Specifically, the wheelbase was increased by 25mm, length was extended by 168mm and height rose by 8mm. Increasing the dimensions allowed for improvements in the boot space and interior design.

New technologies introduced to the new models included climate controls, voice control, Bluetooth phone systems, key free entry and sun reactive windscreen.

Ford also released their next generation of sports focused Focus ST model. This model saw a boost in power of 50BHP, bringing the power to 225BHP total. The hot hatch could now launch from 0-60 in 6.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 152MPH.

A facelift was brought forward during 2007-2008. Ford modified the bonnet creases, removed mouldings from the sides and doors, re-designed the headlights and tweaked the front grille.

3rd Generation (2010-Present day)

Ford decided that for 2010 they would bring the international and American markets together, so they released the 3rd Gen Focus worldwide as one. Production began during 2010 and finally the new focus was released in both Europe and America in early 2011.

The Mk3 Focus mainly focused on refining the cabin space, utilising new materials and modern in car entertainment systems.

A fully electric Ford Focus was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show during 2011. Ford entered the market to compete directly with the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf.

The latest incarnation of the Focus ST was released during 2012. Boasting a further refined turbocharged 2.0L engine, power increased yet again to 247BHP. By this time sales had overtaken the current best seller the Toyota Corolla.

During early 2014 news was released that the Ford Focus had become the most common car in Great Britain with 1.5 million countrywide. The Focus has even made it in the Top 50 greatest cars by the British “CAR” magazine.

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FORD  20/03/2015 09:10:40

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