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Now in all of the 550 Ford of Britain dealerships around the UK, the all new Ford Focus five door hatchbacks are ready and waiting for customers. In the region of 90,000 annual UK sales for Focus models are predicted with 80 per cent being the five door hatchback body option with the remaining being accounted for by the Focus Estate five door that arrives in May.
With 8,000 hatchback units in the UK ready for delivery, Kevin Griffin, director of Fleet for Ford of Britain, said at the media launch of right hand drive versions that demand is already very healthy with 2.5 months of orders already taken. He added that around 60 per cent of Focus customers come from the fleet and corporate sector. Prices start from £15,995 for the five door hatch and deliveries of the estate start in May priced from £17,095
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It is just 100 years since Ford of America started producing their first car abroad in the UK with the Ford Motor Company being founded in March 1911. The Model T rolled off the production lines at Trafford Park in Manchester in October that year. In their centenary year Ford has launched their first ever global C car platform used for the all-new Focus.
The fifth generation Focus will be one of ten different model ranges to use the new C car platform with two million being produced worldwide. The company has already launched this year the new C-Max and Grand C-Max MPVs which use the same platform.
Although Ford no longer produces cars in the UK, only the Transit van at Southampton, the company does produce petrol engines at Bridgend in Wales and diesel units at Dagenham, East London.
This is the fifth generation Focus since the original was launched in 1998 and to date 10 million of them have been sold worldwide.1.4 million of them have been sold in Britain, Ford’s largest single market for the Focus.
Developed in Europe, the new generation Focus range of five door hatchbacks and estates for Europe/UK plus a saloon for other markets such as the USA and China, is sold in over 120 countries around the World and the vehicles have 80 per cent parts communality reducing production costs but bringing to this sector a huge range of affordable technologies not normally available for cars of this size, said Kevin Griffin.
He added, “With customers down-sizing due to high taxation levels and the cost of fuel, the options of equipment and specification normally only found in larger and more expensive D-segment cars should appeal to new customers to the Focus range".
With 34 consecutive years of car market leadership behind them, Ford has introduced the Focus five door hatchback with a choice of three petrol and four diesel engines.
There is a simplified range of equipment levels; Edge which will account for 20 per cent of sales, Zetec 55 per cent, Titanium 17 per cent and Titanium X with 8 per cent.
In addition there is a huge array of new technology extra cost options that if chosen by the customers will make these the most technically advanced mainstream Focus cars ever.
The most significant of these is the £750 Driver Assistance Pack which includes a low speed safety system, lane departure warning, lane keeping aid, driver alert monitoring, traffic speed sign recognition, auto high beam headlight dimming and blind spot information.
Griffin said, “Until now this smart affordable technology has not been readily available in the mainstream C segment and BMW as an example offer some of these functions on their 7-Series but priced from £1,110 upwards".
The starter Edge version actually costs £500 more than the outgoing model but has added equipment worth over £1,000 now fitted as standard.
Other versions show price increases of between three and five per cent, some of which is the result on the increase in Vat and the rest reflects the extra equipment and new engine technologies.
The Edge has air conditioning, electrically operated front windows and door mirrors, remote central locking, stability control, front, side and curtain airbags, Ford’s easy fuel system, mini spare wheel DAB Radio, Bluetooth with voice control and USB connection, alarm and integrated rear spoiler.
Zetec models see the addition of 16-inch alloy wheels, Quickclear heated front screen, front fog lights, sports style front seats and heated door mirrors. Titanium and Titanium X versions see similar higher levels of additional specification ranging from cruise control to 17-inch wheels and much more.
The petrol engine line-up confirmed so far is 1.6 TI-VCT with 105/125PS power outputs and the new 1.6 EcoBoost 150PS unit with a 1.6 EcoBoost 182PS unit to arrive in June. Both these units have Start-Stop. Diesel engines are 1.6 TDCi 95/115PS with Start-Stop and 2.0 TDCi with 140/163PS outputs. Powershift twin clutch auto transmissions are available for both 2.0 TDCi units.
With the price of diesel fuel now considerably more than petrol, Ford expects the domination of diesel sales for Focus to weaken and to become a 50/50 split between petrol and diesel engines with the 1.6-litre petrol and diesel units being the most popular overall.
Kevin Griffin said at the right hand drive model press launch that after taking the purchase price, VED road tax, BIK company car tax and fuel consumption into account that retail buyers or fleet users covering over 15,000 miles a year will find the diesel version slightly more cost effective to run.
Lower mileage users will most likely go for either of the petrol units with the new 1.6-litre turbocharged direct injection EcoBoost version having increasing appeal because it offers performance or fuel economy modes depending on the mood of the driver.
The benefit of the 1.6 TDCi turbodiesel 115PS unit is that it is available right across the hatchback’s specification range with prices starting at £17,495 for the Edge version and topping out at £21,245 for the Titanium X variant.
The 1.6 EcoBoost 150PS petrol unit is available only with Titanium and Titanium X levels of ‘spec’ with prices of £19,745 and £21,245 respectively, exactly the same price as the 1.6-litre TDCi models with those specifications.