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FOCUS: A HISTORY OF FORD’S C-SEGMENT WORLD CAR

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  • More than 9.2 million Ford Focus vehicles have been sold across the globe since the nameplate launched in 1998
  • Focus has served as the basis for popular multi-activity, crosssover and performance vehicles like the European C-MAX, Kuga and Focus RS, plus the North American SVT Focus
  • The next-generation Focus moves to a truly global Ford C-car platform with only minor variations between models sold around the world

With more than 9.2 million examples of the Ford Focus sold worldwide since its 1998 launch, the car has played a leading role in the global C-segment for more than a decade. To better understand where Focus is going, it’s essential to look back at the creation of a new standard – exactly what Ford accomplished when the very first Focus was revealed.


 

Ford Motor Company released the new Focus, successor to its popular Escort, first in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region in 1998 and then as a 2000 model in North America. A major change from the Escort’s soft lines, Focus exemplified Ford’s New Edge styling cues with upswept headlamp pods and dynamic, angular lines and set the benchmark in its segment for driving dynamics. 

The new Focus was nominated and won Car of the Year in both the U.S. and Europe – and has claimed well over 100 major awards in subsequent years.

Focus Milestones

  • 1998 – Focus makes its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show
  • 1998 – Focus production begins at Germany’s Saarlouis Assembly Plant (August)
  • 1999 – By March, 100,000 had been sold in Europe alone, with 200,000 orders waiting
  • 1999 – North American Focus production begins at Wayne Assembly in Michigan and Hermosillo Assembly in Mexico
  • 1999 – Ford Focus WRC replaces successful Escort model in the World Rally Championship
  • 2000 – Focus introduced in North American markets, wins “North American Car of the Year”
  • 2001 – Focus production begins in Taiwan
  • 2001 – Focus becomes first flex-fuel European product – capable of running on E85
  • 2001 – Focus becomes the world’s best-selling car at year’s end with 917,000 sales
  • 2002 – Production begins at Saarlouis for export models for Australia
  • 2002 – Introduction of first performance models, in North America as an SVT model and in Europe as the Focus ST170. First Focus RS model is also introduced in Europe
  • 2002 – Russian production of the Focus begins at the Vsevolozhsk plant near St. Petersburg
  • 2003 – Premiere of Focus C-MAX at Geneva Motor Show
  • 2003 – Focus begins seven-year run as best-selling foreign vehicle in Russia
  • 2004 – 2-millionth Focus produced in Saarlouis (February)
  • 2004 – 1-millionth Valencia (Spain) Assembly Plant-built Focus produced
  • 2004 – Production begins of second-generation Ford Focus in Saarlouis
  • 2004 – Focus production begins in the Philippines
  • 2005 – Focus becomes the first E20-capable passenger car in Thailand
  • 2005 – North American Focus receives fresh exterior, new interior – first major redesign
  • 2005 – Focus four-door production begins in China
  • 2005 – Focus ST production kickoff in Europe (October)
  • 2005 – Focus production begins in South Africa
  • 2006 – Focus five-door production begins in China
  • 2006 – Focus Coupe-Cabriolet introduced in Europe, engineered with Pininfarina
  • 2006 – 4-millionth Focus built in Saarlouis
  • 2006 – All North American Focus production consolidated at Wayne Assembly Plant, Michigan
  • 2006 – Ford Vsevolozhsk plant produces 100,000th Russian-built Focus
  • 2006 – Focus wins FIA World Rally Championship manufacturer’s title for Ford
  • 2007 – Last year for Focus hatchback and wagon in North American markets
  • 2007 – Focus receives five-star rating from China Automotive Technology and Research Center in C-NCAP testing, the highest rating to date for a C-car in China
  • 2007 – Focus wins China Circuit Championship
  • 2007 – Focus scores another World Rally Championship manufacturer’s title for Ford
  • 2007 – New Focus introduced in North America (October). Two models available: Sedan and, for the first time, a Focus Coupe. Popular SYNC® in-vehicle communications system launched
  • 2008 – Major facelift of Focus in Europe, introducing kinetic design exterior and new interior
  • 2008 – Focus production in Ford’s Asia-Pacific and Africa region nears half-million point with assembly in the Philippines, South Africa, Vietnam and China
  • 2009 – Valencia produces its 2-millionth Focus (January)
  • 2009 – Focus production in China hits 400,000
  • 2009 – Production of a new limited-edition Focus RS – the highest-performance road-going Focus ever – begins in Europe
  • 2009 – Russian production of Focus reaches 300,000 units (June)
  • 2009 – Ford’s first European passenger battery car, a prototype Focus BEV, is displayed at the Frankfurt Motor Show
  • 2009 – New Ford Focus ECOnetic debuts, the first Ford of Europe production model with Auto-Start-Stop, Smart Regenerative Charging, Ford Eco Mode and Low Tension FEAD
  • 2010 – World preview of the next-generation Focus at the North American International Auto Show (January)

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FOCUS: A HISTORY OF FORD’S C-SEGMENT WORLD CAR
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