Focus - Europe launch
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
Itís also scheduled for major export production from South
Journalists who have driven the latest Focus say that this car
is a quantam leap forward from an already advanced dynamic
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
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
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
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
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.
Car Torque is