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Ford Focus - Europe launch

Broadcast dates : 14th Nov 2004
18th Nov 2004

Focus is likely to be a key word for Ford Motor Company in South Africa in the next few years.

Not only is the new Ford Focus scheduled for production at the companyís Silverton plant near Pretoria, but this is the car that is likely to spearhead a newÖ. well, focus for what was once a mainstay brand in South Africa.

Itís worth noting that Fordís sales are on a marked upswing already in our country, and this new car, launched just over a month ago in Europe, could be a runaway success here.

Itís also scheduled for major export production from South Africa.

Journalists who have driven the latest Focus say that this car is a quantam leap forward from an already advanced dynamic platform.

The Focus is available in Europe in three-door, five-door hatchback and estate car forms.

According to Ford insiders, we will be getting the five-door for local consumption, as well as a four-door sedan version.

It was the first generation Focus that spearheaded a whole new design language at Ford in the late 1990s, with a mix of flowing curves and crisp edges to the body shape.

This new-generation Focus takes the theme a step further, and is more harmonious in certain respects than the previous design.

This is true in the rear-end treatment. The rather controversial vertical tail lights on the C-Pillar are still a key feature. But as the C-pillar has a more gentle slope to it the lights look more integrated, with less of utilitarian look.

This is particularly apparent on the three-door model, which has an almost coupe-like profile.

Fordís stylists have done a good job of retaining the sporty profile in the five-door Focus.

This was made possible by increasing the wheelbase, enabling the windscreen line to be moved forward, thus freeing up passenger compartment space and enabling a more sloping rear end.

The edgy-styling theme of Focus 1 has been retained in the second-generation car, with the triangulated headlight clusters and the strong Ford new-generation grille.

This is a feature that is carried through the range now to other models, including the striking new Fiesta.

Power-wise, thereís a choice of one-comma-six-litre and two-litre petrol, and two-litre diesel engines at present. Transmissions for our market will probably be five-speed manual and automatic, with front-wheel-drive.

Ford engineers in England are proud of their engineering acumen, and it shows in the way the Focus handles the twisties, as well as high-speed motorway driving.

A car that we wonít be getting here, at least initially, is the estate car, or Focus Wagon.

This is a particularly fine rendition of the Focus styling concept, and in a way itís a pity that the market for estate cars has been largely superseded in South Africa by SUVs and MPVs.

The extended roofline on the Focus Wagon adds a certain elegance to the design.

The model line-up that Ford showed at its Auto Africa exhibit a few weeks ago shows that the South African arm of the worldís third-largest car-maker means business once again.

Ford, for so long the sleeping giant in South Africa, seems to have shrugged off its somnolence as 2005 approaches.

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