Monday, May 11, 2009

Discussion on the next Ford Focus III rear design

Currently there is no reliable information available on the rear design of the next global Ford Focus. A recent photoshop, pictured below, shows an interpretation with horizontal rear lights, as opposed to the vertical units found in the current and first generation versions. This artist impression is probably influenced by the recent Iosis-MAX concept. This blog post discusses why the Focus should keep the vertical design of the rear light-cluster and other design features.

Ford should understand that they are on the verge of greatness with the next Ford Focus. If they play their cards right, in a couple of years the Focus can be the best-selling car in its class in the world. For two reasons: One is that the Focus still has progression space in the European market and can gain market share there. It can not be the best selling car in Europe for obvious reasons, related to the size of the German market and their natural patriotism. But considering that the Focus is currently ranking number two in its segment despite its age, and that the new and very kinetic Fiesta is storming the market, I would say that with the right design the Focus can gain some more market share in Europe. Second reason is that being a global car the new Focus will sell very well in the USA. And if the economy recovers we can expect another spike in oil prices that will renew the recent love of Americans for smaller cars. So in conclusion, if Ford applies its kinetic design in the right way the Focus III will become the best selling compact car in the world. And we know the design part is good… so good that in focus groups for the NA market the response was “out of the ordinary”.

But, then why the insistence with the vertical rear lights? Because, in my opinion, the next Focus can be more than a best-seller: it can become a new icon. At this point we should remember the formidable list of accomplishments by Ford of Europe with the Focus model. The first generation marked a huge gap against the previous Escort, added a distinctive and fresh design that aged very well, but its biggest achievement was the superior multilink rear suspension. It destroyed the competition in the handling department and forced the best concurrence to a radical inverse engineering process that included some aggressive head-hunting… The Focus II did not score so high in the design department, brought more maturity in the interiors but still kept some design features like the rear vertical light-cluster, the third window in the C-pillar while adding a bit more coupe-ish shape. The restyling brought a much needed kinetic design infusion but the most important accomplishment is very recent: the Focus RS. The best FWD car on the planet!

Keeping some of the major design elements, such as the rear shape and vertical rear lights, while adding the kinetic design and the distinctive trapezoidal grille will contribute to raise the Focus III to new heights. If the market responds accordingly Ford will have more than a best seller, Ford will have a new icon. That would be a good thing, because icons are more profitable.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very well written article.

Here in a certain part of Asia, the only engine we get for the Ford Focus is the outdated 4 speed automatic gearbox with 100 bhp which has poor fuel economy and acceleration. Needless to say, the Japanese and Korean cars with their more advanced 4/5 speed 120+bhp 1.6L engines sell in far greater numbers. Few people buy manual cars here, and a good automatic gearbox and engine combination is sorely needed to exploit the Focus' excellent chassis. Ford, please rush development of the Powershift 6 speed dual clutch gearbox and the more powerful turbocharged petrol engines!!