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Ford: U.S. won\'t get new Focus

Ford U.S. won't get new Focus

By Mark Rechtin and Amy Wilson
Automotive News / August 25, 2003

Focus: America
YEAR SALES
2000: 286,166
2001: 264,414
2002: 243,199
2003: *140,044
*Through July
Source: Automotive News

In a reversal of course, Ford Motor Co. will not use the new global C1 compact car platform for the North American Focus until at least 2007. While the rest of the world will get a redesigned C1-based Focus next year, North America may never get the vehicle, executives have confirmed.

Ford executives had said the North American Focus would shift to the C1 platform, which will accommodate the European Focus and several Ford, Mazda and Volvo models. Based on a standard vehicle cycle of four or five years, that shift could have come next year or in 2005.

The decision means the American-market Focus, which is based on the C170 platform, will be eight years old in a hyper-competitive segment where five-year cycles are the norm and four years is not unheard of. Cost appears to be a major reason for the decision.

Chris Theodore, Ford's vice president of advanced product creation, said Ford North America still needs to pay for the development costs of the current Focus before it can look to adopt the new platform.

"We have to amortize and make money on our original investment," Theodore says.

But Theodore denies that the decision was a red flag signaling a change in Ford's platform-sharing strategy.

"Ford is not backing away from globalization of its platforms. This is just a timing issue. We will continue to march toward platform consolidation. We will see unique models coming from those platforms," Theodore says.

Platform sharing

But a decision to switch to C1 for North America has not been made, he says.

"C1 is the obvious candidate, but it is not the only one. We don't want to make our decision too soon," Theodore says. Part of the decision also involves the timing and cadence of Ford's product introductions.

The Europe-market Focus has run a full five-year cycle and is due for a redesign, while the North American market did not get its version of the Focus until the 2000 model year.

"It was never an option to short-cycle the C170 (in America)," says Nick Scheele, Ford Motor president. "We are sticking with the C170, which is doing quite well. Why change it?"

But Ford has been trumpeting the benefits it would gain by sharing engineering and supplier resources in developing the C1 platform with Mazda and Volvo.

More than a dozen vehicles are slated to be derived from the C1 platform, from Ford Focus convertibles to Mazda3 hatchbacks to Volvo S40 sedans to Land Rover Freelander sport wagons.

The first vehicle off the new platform, the five-seat Focus C-Max mini-minivan, goes on sale in Europe next month.

The other European Focus variants will be produced in April.

The Mazda Protege was redesigned for the 1999 model year and is on schedule to be replaced in December by the Mazda3. Volvo's S40 and V40 - co-developed with Mitsubishi - were introduced in America in fall 1999 and will be replaced in the spring.

But the Volvos had been on sale before that in Europe and were due for a redesign.

In the meantime, Ford North America will soldier on using the old C170 platform, although some interim changes will be made. Ford just launched a PZEV-emissions version of the Focus in the spring, with a new 2.3-liter inline-four engine. A re-engineered and restyled Focus will debut in April for the 2005 model year. A performance version of the sedan will be added to the lineup for 2005 as well.

It may be that the new C1 platform priced itself out of North America's budget car segment.

In Europe, Focus is in a segment with vehicles that hold a price premium, and people value its performance-in-a-small-package character. But in North America, the compact segment is much more price sensitive. Chevrolet, for instance, has offered rebates of $4,000 on the Cavalier, while Ford has kept Focus rebates to about $2,000. Focus sales through July are flat compared with last year.

"The Focus here is different than in Europe," Scheele says. "In Europe, it is about family, handling and performance. In America, it's an entry-level vehicle. So what I would do for one product, I might not do for another. They need to reflect a different marketplace."

Using a platform with higher variable costs would require a higher vehicle price to break even and could compromise efforts to reach volume goals for the Focus, one Ford insider says. That could hinder Ford's ability to meet corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, standards as because the Focus is a big contributor to the automaker's CAFE.

Quality bugs

Ford has battled quality problems with the Focus. The car generally received positive reviews for ride, handling and design upon its introduction. But the North American version has been plagued with quality problems that put a black eye on the nameplate.

In contrast, the Europe-market Focus has been touted for its high quality in both J.D. Power ratings and in a German equivalent of Consumer Reports. One Ford source says the company doesn't have the resources for another major product introduction and worried that a Focus platform change could trigger another round of costly recalls.

Ford conducted 10 U.S. recalls of the 2000 Focus, six recalls of the 2001 Focus and one recall of the 2002 Focus SVT.

In September 2002, Ford began offering an extended five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. It also increased advertising on the 2003 model to an estimated $100 million, even more than Ford spent to introduce the vehicle.

Ford officials boast that the Focus has been free of recalls for nearly two years, and that warranty repairs for the 2003 model have improved by 23 percent over the 2002 model.
 

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Re: Ford: U.S. won\'t get new Focus

[censored]...there goes everything...Maybe thats why Shelby was brought in? Now they can make a Shelby Focus with the current platform (which will probably not be much more than the current SVT power rating)
and keep costs down, by doing a limited run.
OR they keep the SVT at 170 or so and NA and ask Shelby to do a FI focus....OR SVT and Shelby will team up....OR we are all [censored] and ford loses in the compact market AGAIN!!!!
 

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Re: Ford: U.S. won\'t get new Focus

"In Europe, Focus is in a segment with vehicles that hold a price premium, and people value its performance-in-a-small-package character. But in North America, the compact segment is much more price sensitive. Chevrolet, for instance, has offered rebates of $4,000 on the Cavalier, while Ford has kept Focus rebates to about $2,000. Focus sales through July are flat compared with last year."

This explains it all.

Honda's Civic has been cheapened too, so it's not just Ford. You can thank your average American car buyer for this, since most refuse to buy a new one without a huge incentive.

Still, what do people expect? We are in a recession and Ford has survival to deal with.

The average car buyer doesn't care about world cars, latest and greatest Euro chassis, and other gee whizz crap that car nuts cream over. 90% of compact buyers want an economy car that isn't going to cost millions.

Most of the tuner/enthusiast/car nut crowd buys used, so why spend ooodles of cash, lose money just to please them?

Honda's Civic isn't planned to get back double wishbone suspension, the Corolla is plain jane, the Scions are a joke, Neons are stil junk, and GM's Ion is hideous, so where is the need for an "all new" US Focus? Refining it and changing the interior is enough until they can justify the cost of a C1 or whatever.

If you still think Ford should spend the money, then start a collection and give it to them!
 

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Re: Ford: U.S. won\'t get new Focus

We still get the C1 Mazda 3 and C1 S40 though right? Arent they better cars anyway. I mean is all we are losing the blue oval on the front? Because I can live with that.
 

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Re: Ford: U.S. won\'t get new Focus

If Ford of EUR is so "great" and "with it", why the heck have they been losing money, market share, and leaders for the past 6 years???

Probably spending the money for the C1 so soon has something to do with it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Ford: U.S. won\'t get new Focus

If Ford of EUR is so "great" and "with it", why the heck have they been losing money, market share, and leaders for the past 6 years???

Probably spending the money for the C1 so soon has something to do with it?
FOE hasn't been losing market share for the past few quarters, they have been gaining market share.

they have lost alot of money due to incentive and new accounting rules.
 

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Re: Ford: U.S. won\'t get new Focus

Ford better be doing well in Europe because that is gonna be all they have left. Europe and Trucks. Seriously they are finished here. They will be the next Isuzu, just cranking out trucks and SUV's. They should pack it in and sell cars under Volvo and Mazda. Who cares if we maybe get the Focus in 2008? You know what car I'm not going to be in the market for in 5 years...a Focus.
 

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Re: Ford: U.S. won\'t get new Focus

Ford better be doing well in Europe because that is gonna be all they have left. Europe and Trucks. Seriously they are finished here. They will be the next Isuzu, just cranking out trucks and SUV's. They should pack it in and sell cars under Volvo and Mazda. Who cares if we maybe get the Focus in 2008? You know what car I'm not going to be in the market for in 5 years...a Focus.
Damn straight!
 

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Re: Ford: U.S. won\'t get new Focus

"FOE hasn't been losing market share for the past few quarters, they have been gaining market share.
they have lost alot of money due to incentive and new accounting rules."

From what I read in Automotive News, they have lost money, sales, and have high costs. Keep dreaming that all US Ford cars will one day be exactly the same as the Euros get.

In EUR, the Focus is a premium family car, here it's a compact. American buyers will not pay mid-full size prices for a comapct car. So, we have the C170 longer.

Spending money to force feed "world cars" is better spent to tailor product line ups to the market.

And don't say "Well Honda sells Euro cars here". Yeah, but what car is their #1 seller? The American designed Accord, not the Acura TSX. Same with Toyota, the Echo is way down in sales, while the Camry and Corolla, tailoers for America, is breaking records, and the #1 car seller.

The "good feeling" that a car is "designed in Europe" doesn't cut it if its recalled often and in the shop 3 times a year. Better to make the C170 bullet proof, then to spend oodles of much needed $$$ to retool, retrain, and relaunch a C1 with no profits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Re: Ford: U.S. won\'t get new Focus

"FOE hasn't been losing market share for the past few quarters, they have been gaining market share.
they have lost alot of money due to incentive and new accounting rules."

From what I read in Automotive News, they have lost money, sales, and have high costs. Keep dreaming that all US Ford cars will one day be exactly the same as the Euros get.

In EUR, the Focus is a premium family car, here it's a compact. American buyers will not pay mid-full size prices for a comapct car. So, we have the C170 longer.

Spending money to force feed "world cars" is better spent to tailor product line ups to the market.

And don't say "Well Honda sells Euro cars here". Yeah, but what car is their #1 seller? The American designed Accord, not the Acura TSX. Same with Toyota, the Echo is way down in sales, while the Camry and Corolla, tailoers for America, is breaking records, and the #1 car seller.

The "good feeling" that a car is "designed in Europe" doesn't cut it if its recalled often and in the shop 3 times a year. Better to make the C170 bullet proof, then to spend oodles of much needed $$$ to retool, retrain, and relaunch a C1 with no profits.
the European C170 is chaeper to make than the US C170, why?

the Focus is the most reliable car in europe, Why?

The C1 based C-max is built on the same line as the C170 focus, WHY? required only 300 million dollars in investment.

Ford's idea is to reuse the tooling and in efficent assembly process instead of spending money to make assembly flexible and more productive. Saving more money in the long term.

small car profits are made on the assembly line not thru cost cutting, toyota averages <18 hours per corrolla/matrix, while ford takes 23-25 hours per focus.

At UAW labor costs of $50 per hour vs $35 for toyota.

how can lack of investment fix that problem?
 

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Focus Gets Clearer

Here is the latest news in the US Focus soap opera:
-----------------------------------------------------
From www.thecarconnection.com, 9/8/03

Focus Gets Clearer

Meanwhile, Mazda officials offered a bit of clarification to recent reports about the next generation of Ford family small cars. The Japanese automaker’s new Mazda3 was jointly developed with Ford and Volvo, and will serve as the basis for a variety of future vehicles, including Ford’s own C-Max, a European microvan. Mazda’s engineering prowess has garnered so much respect in the vast Ford Motor Co. empire that the larger Mazda6 will serve as the foundation for at least ten mid-size U.S. Ford-brand models, including the Futura, a replacement for the aging Taurus.

But recent reports indicated Ford would stick with the current platform for the next-generation Focus subcompact, and not switch to something based on the Mazda3. The truth apparently is somewhere in between, according to several senior sources. To fully amortize the investment it has made, Ford will reuse a significant amount of current-model Focus tooling, but update the new car by borrowing some important “bits and pieces” from the Mazda3-based global architecture. Among other things, expect to see a significantly improved interior on Focus, along with improved ride and handling. —Paul A. Eisenstein

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Re: Ford: U.S. won\'t get new Focus

Machines work for free...and do a better job.
So then those of us that do work for the motor companies or supplers to those companies should lose our jobs, so you can have a new focus?

And actually there are alot of wleding operations that a robot can't do.

If robots ran most of the jobs in a plant, then you'd really start seeing good cars get cut off. The people that work to make your cars are also a big percentage of buyers of those cars.
 

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Re: Ford: U.S. won\'t get new Focus

no, just that you should be payed comparably to the rest of the auto industry, so that american auto companies can compete with the likes of toyota, nissan, VW in terms of build quality and price. right now they are trying to compete with an albatross around their necks, and really have no chance. 2 companies cannot create equal moustraps and price them at $5 if one company pays $2 to make them and the other pays $5.
 

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Re: Ford: U.S. won\'t get new Focus

Then maybe you should work for 4.50 an hour! The main reason that these companies pay so little is that they have little or no medical coverage for their employees, so they can give the customer a better warranty! Well if any of you have ever worked in a factory you will understand that after 20 or 30 years your body starts to break down! I would hate to work for a company that doesnt care how you are going to afford medical bills down the road! Dollar for dollar, I guess you think that there should be no Schnucks, or Dierbergs or Shop and Save because they sell things higher than Aldi's or Save-a-lot! Why dont you go to your boss tommorrow and tell him you want a pay cut so everyone else can have a good life while you struggle! Better yet why dont you go work for an auto company ON THE LINE, so you understand how it is! then you can talk about something that you dont understand! Beside if it werent for us auto workers backing up robots these cars would be ten times worse than you say they are! Trust me, I am a sprayer at ford in st.louis and I always have to cover the robots on where they are not covering or when they break down or whatever! Good luck to you and I hope you still have a job in the near future!!!!!!! GOD BLESS!
 

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Re: Ford: U.S. won\'t get new Focus

Machines work for free...and do a better job.
So then those of us that do work for the motor companies or supplers to those companies should lose our jobs, so you can have a new focus?
Yes, you should like the rest of us do when the economy slows down and everybody restructures to cut off excessive fat or when more efficient technologies are being introduced.
But no, you're "protected" under your "screw-everybody-we-want-to-keep-our-jobs" UAW contracts...

Nothing is guaranteed in this world. The unionized "Domestics" continue to lose their market shares as a result.
Yes, the UAW plants provide job security and crazy benefits.
But also are vulnerable to the much higher labor expenses and inefficiency...and average at best product quality...

Here are some news for you...
Chrysler has finally been overtaken by Toyota for the No.3 spot.
Nissan is rapidly advancing and now readying its Titan full size truck.
Even Honda is considering to enter the full size truck segment.
Guess what will happen when the rest of the Union-free Japanese "transplants" enter the full size pick-up market, the last bastion of the domestics?

The F150, the cash cow that keeps FoMoCo afloat, will continue to lose its ground no matter how good it is.
FoMoCo' management is so nervous it's spending $100 million in six months - the firm's biggest ad budget ever - for the F150 launching ad campaign...

No wonder Ford "can't afford"
to bring the new Focus here.

The F150 better sell good or FoMoCo will be following Chrysler.
Good luck...
 

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Re: Ford: U.S. won\'t get new Focus

Seriously, if i dont like my salary, i dont get to strike, and there is no united computer programmers union protecting me. If i get laid off, im on my own. My dad got laid off at 60, what protection did he get? None. He had to take a job at half his past salary becasue they wouldnt pay him top dollar at his age. Id like to see your reaction if Ford fired every one of you and hired you back at half your current salary and see how you liked it. Greedy unions are whats keeping the economy down in this country. They want it all, all the time, and you dont want to hear about recessions etc. Sadly, from an economic standpoint, if you all end up laid off when ford NA goes under, it will plunge us into yet more economic problems. And honestly I don't feel the least bit sorry. Noone feels sorry for me when my transmission fails becasue of shoddy work and or inferior parts. As for overspray, i got plenty of that, so when my next car rolls down the line, please let the robot take care of it.
 

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Re: Ford: U.S. won\'t get new Focus

So then those of us that do work for the motor companies or supplers to those companies should lose our jobs, so you can have a new focus?
Times change, the need for manual labor changes. If these companies are NOT making as many cars as they Used to, and they don't need as many people to make each car, why should they keep the extra 50,000 employees? no other industry in the US has the kind of job protection that a US car factory worker has. If a machine comes along that can do my job cheaper do you think I'm still gonna have a job. It's not FoMoCo responsibility to take care of your ass for your entire life, it's YOUR job to secure your financial security, and doing it by leaching of a corporation is a sleazy way to do it. If people continue to leach off the "American big 3" (since there not gonna be the "big 3" in America for much longer) These companies will take a serious nose dive and may be absorbed or go bankrupt. If that happens, you can kiss all your benefits and job security good-bye.

As for buying American, my family has tried that, but you know what I'm about to give up on that. The Jap, and euro companies truly do have superior cars to the American companies. My mom has owned For the last 14 years a Mini van from Ford, Chrysler, and Chevy. She got rid of ALL of them after 3 years because they ALL had serious safety concerns. Electrical problems where the cars would randomly shut off, issues with power doors jamming, or not closing, and on her latest Chevy venture (hell she has had TWO ventures now) she had the breaks COMPLETELY fail twice in a month.

I'm sorry but being a "proud American" and "buying American" is not worth risking my life over. Sure if it was an isolated incident I might let it slide but EVERY car from all 3 of the "big 3?" This is not acceptable. My mom has vowed never to buy another American car, after 14 years and $115,000, and every day being scared to drive your car.

In the part of the US that I live, American cars are already the minority "imports" are by far the majority here. At the rate were going your be hard pressed to find anything American in this area soon.

In the end it comes down to the fact that you are asking ME a "hard working American struggling to makes ends meet" to pay MORE for an INFERIOR product so YOU can enjoy lots of benefits and rock hard job security. In the end your not taking money for FoMoCo your taking money from ME.
 
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