The Focus gets its first design change since 2010, when the current generation was launched as an ’11 model.
’15 Ford Focus to receive 1.0L EcoBoost engine.
DEARBORN, MI –unveils a refreshed Focus C-car hatchback today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, presenting a car that aligns better with the rest of its global lineup.
The car will make its auto show debut at the Geneva auto show next month.
The ’15 Focus, whichis calling a major refresh, gets new sheetmetal from the A-pillar forward and adopts a grille and headlamps similar to the Fusion midsize sedan. In the rear it receives new lamp clusters and a restyled trunklid.
This marks the first design change for the Focus since 2010, when the current generation was launched as an ’11 model.
Moray Callum, executive director-design, says the changes add an “emotional feel” to the car.
“It suits the car I think, and I think it comes across as a very solid type of one-piece homogeneous design,” he tells WardsAuto during a media preview here. “What we’re trying to do with Focus is line it up with rest of the brand.”
Although the sedan version of the Focus has not yet been shown, Callum says it will receive similar design changes as the 5-door.
Inside, colors and materials have been overhauled for what Ford says is a “clean, modern look.” The cabin receives satin-chrome detailing, new seat trims, switches and an available heated steering wheel. Storage is improved with a new center console incorporating adjustable cupholders and a new glovebox.
“We kept the overall feel of the interior, but improved the layout and simplified the switchgear,” Callum says.
The ’15 Focus also receives new technologies, including a standard rearview camera and a blindspot alert system.
Under the hood the Focus gets the 1.0L direct-injected turbocharged EcoBoost 3-cyl. engine currently offered in the Fiesta B-car and a Ward’s 10 Best Engine recipient. The current 2.0L inline 4-cyl. engine also will be offered.
The 1.0L will come only on vehicles equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission, while the 2.0L will be available with a 6-speed automatic.
Raj Nair, group vice president-global product development, says although the 1.0L is paired with Ford’s PowerShift dual-clutch automatic transmission in other parts of the world, it didn’t make sense for American customers.
“We’re finding that different markets react differently to different types of automatics, so a dual-clutch automatic transmission is not what North American customers are used to,” he says.
Ford executives do not disclose volume expectations for the 1.0L, but note the engine accounts for 32% of Focus sales in Europe this year.
The automaker is hoping the redesign and new engine and technology offerings help boost Focus sales, which have been stagnant.
Focus sales in 2013 were down 4.6% compared with like-2012 to 234,570, according to WardsAuto data. In comparison, the segment posted a 4.4% year-over-year gain. In January, Focus deliveries were down 25.7%, far below the segment’s 5.5% drop.
Seema Bardwaj, Focus brand manager, says sales are down because the Focus is one of the oldest models in its segment.
“The new () Corolla coming into the marketplace has done well, and the ( ) Civic had its emergency refresh,” she says. “So this freshening is coming at a great time, because we can come up to rest of the party by being just as fresh.”
Bardwaj says Ford has been studying Focus’ packaging and pricing strategy to increase sales, adding details on the plan will be revealed later this year.
“We’re paying attention to what the competition is doing with pricing and packaging and figuring out how we can separate ourselves out from that,” she says.