Detroit 2010: Ford Reveals Global 2012 Focus
By Alex Kalogiannis
Ford has just revealed the next-gen incarnation of its globally-popular Focus C-segment car. The Focus has been completely re-worked by a global team of specialists to create a sporty, stylish car that meets their targets of fuel economy and driving quality. The 2012 Focus is also the first car to be created under the ONE Ford approach, a strategy to create and design cars that appeal to all markets. Indeed, the new Focus will be nearly identical in all markets, with 80 percent parts commonality around the world.
“The new Ford Focus is a clear demonstration that our ONE Ford strategy is providing global consumers with great products that harness the best of Ford Motor Company,” said Alan Mulally, Ford’s president and CEO.
The 2012 Focus continues Ford’s kinetic design initiative, giving the car a sporty feel that should prove eye-catching in markets around the world. The lower trapezoidal grille is divided into three sections, which is the first detail that one notices in the car’s expressive form language. The Focus features an athletic profile and a great stance on both the 4-door sedan and the 5-door hatchback. The interior will be equally sleek and will have the recently announced MyFord Touch interface incorporated into the design.
The new Focus brings improved levels of agility and responsiveness to C-segment cars, and the new Focus plans to raise the bar even higher with refining the precision and ride control of the driving characteristics. Engineers have updated suspension concepts from prior models and optimized the multilink rear suspension and the semi-islolated front and rear subframes. The chassis will be complemented by an Electronic Power Assist Steering system, which will aid in precision at high speeds and adjust itself accordingly to be maneuverable for actions like parking. During the car’s press conference, Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president, Global Product Development, noted that Ford’s EPAS implementation in the 2012 Focus will be the best rollout of the technology anywhere. That’s a bold statement considering that cars like the Lexus IS 350 have EPAS systems that doa fairly credible job of disguising their electric roots.
Cornering stability and agility have been enhanced with the introduction of an advanced Dynamic Cornering Control system, which uses “torque vectoring” to transfer power between the drive wheels to reduce understeer, allow better turn-in, and improve traction. These characteristics will be the same across the globe, using identical chassis and suspension architecture in all markets, except to meet minor regional specifications such as tires.
The power behind the 2012 Focus for the North American market will be a completely new 2.0-liter engine that features direct injection and Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) for enhanced fuel efficiency and performance, the same engineering to be used in the Mustang GT 5.0. The 4-cylinder engine looks to produce an estimated of 150-plus horsepower and about 145 lb-ft of torque.
To maximize the performance and economy , the engine is mated with a dry-clutch six-speed Ford PowerShift automatic transmission. Based on manual gearbox technology, torque converters, planetary gears, and oil pumps will be out, and electronically controlled twin clutches will shift gears for optimal torque flow and ease of operation.
The new range will start production simultaneously in Europe and North America later this year, and the car is expected to go on sale in early 2011.
In person, the new Focus is a really good-looking car; it builds on the graceful design of the current-generation European Focus, and completely blows the current US-spec Focus out of the water in both interior and exterior design, materials, and equipment. And having seen the Chevy Cruze – which is not yet on sale – in person just five minutes after seeing the Focus, the Cruze is going to have an uphill battle in the quest for sales in an incredibly competitive segment.
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