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Ford Focus sales are gaining momentum

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Young buyers hungry for new technology and strong fuel economy are driving higher retail sales of the new 2008 Ford Focus.

Focus’ retail sales have been up year-over-year for the past three months – and February retail sales also are tracking above year-ago levels.  The small car’s sales were up 18 percent in November – the car’s first full month on the market – followed by a 9 percent increase in December and 33 percent in January. 
  
“Younger buyers are very interested in technology like SYNC.  In addition to strong sales, we’re seeing the average age of Focus customers coming down,” said Samuel De La Garza, Ford’s Focus Marketing manager.  “These customers also seek style, fuel economy and a high level of quality, reliability and feature content – all of which Focus delivers in spades.”

J.D. Power sales data show that 32 percent of 2008 Focus year buyers are 16 to 35 years old.  That’s up from 28 percent of 2007 Focus buyers.

“When you think about the significant small cars that have come into the market during the past few months alone, a 4 percentage point jump is meaningful,” said Ford Sales Analyst George Pipas.  “This increase suggests that younger buyers are starting to believe that it’s cool to buy a Ford.”

Helping drive the trend:  More Millennials who are becoming drivers – and vehicle buyers.  Born between 1980 and 1995, approximately 70 million Millennials live in the U.S.  Each day, more than 11,000 of these savvy consumers reach driving age, looking for stylish, fuel-efficient vehicles that feature the latest technology. 

Ford is ready with a mix of accessible vehicles – including Focus – that feature industry-leading connectivity technology, improved fuel economy, an array of safety features and creature comforts such as ambient lighting. 

Customers are noticing, De La Garza said. 

“Not only are Focus customers getting younger on average, they’re also buying more feature content than they were even a year ago,” he said.

SYNC continues to be a customer favorite.  Nearly 40 percent of 2008 Focus units sold since introduction have been equipped with SYNC.  SYNC-equipped Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles sell nearly twice as fast as those without.  

This industry-first technology offers unprecedented levels of connection, control, simplicity and personalization for electronic devices.  A microphone inside the cabin allows consumers to use their mobile phones hands-free while operating a vehicle.  SYNC is also the only automotive application that offers full hands-free, voice-activated command and control over portable media players and USB storage devices.

SYNC’s advanced capability allows consumers to access the songs, artists, genres, albums, play lists and more through voice commands.  Powered by Microsoft and launched in the fall of 2007, the award-winning system is available in 12 vehicles from Ford, Lincoln and Mercury. 

That’s good news, especially considering a study by the Consumer Electronics Association that shows consumers increasingly want information and entertainment devices to function inside vehicles; approximately one-fourth of the driving-age population plans to purchase these types of products this year.
In addition to SYNC, Ford’s color-configurable interior ambient lighting system also appears to be a hit with Focus buyers. 

This mood-setting feature allows customers to change the light color inside the cup holders and in the front and rear foot wells.  Vehicle occupants can choose from seven different colors – red, orange, blue, indigo, violet, green and yellow – simply by cycling through a dash-mounted switch.

“Customers today are smart,” De La Garza said.  “They want – and deserve – cars like Focus that are fun to drive and offer great features that leave a smile on their faces, even long after they’re finished with their daily drives.”

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Ford Focus sales are gaining momentum
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