• May 13th 2008 at 1:30AM
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Click above for high-res gallery of 2009 Ford Focus Coupe

We do not consider ourselves experts on the buying habits of small car shoppers anymore, not after watching the redesigned 2008 Ford Focus streak to extremely strong sales despite sporting what we considered to be deal breaker bad looks. You can credit the car's success to good marketing, exclusive availability of SYNC, a big car ride with small car fuel economy, whatever... regardless, the Focus is selling better than it has since the car first debuted in 2000.

Ford has heard all the criticism thrown at the 2008 Focus for its electric shaver looks, and in a very unusual move has solicited feedback from Focus fans and tweaked only the Coupe for 2009 and not the Sedan. The newish 2009 Focus Coupe features a front end with a larger lower air intake that's supposedly inspired by the new Fiesta, and those garish faux fender vents are now completely gone (hopefully the sedan gets stripped of these, too). The flanking foglamps are also now better integrated into the body and the two-bar grille and other accents feature a dark, almost bronzed look rather than bright chrome. There are also new Dark Chrome 17-inch aluminum wheels and a roof-mounted spoiler, both standard on the top-shelf SES Coupe in addition to electronic stability control and SYNC, that make the Focus look more sporty than before. The overall effect of these changes reminds us of the last-generation SVT Focus Euro package. You can make up your own minds and let us know in the comments.

Though the Focus SVT is surely not returning, Ford did give the new coupe a new freer-breathing exhaust on models equipped with the five-speed manual to free up some horsepower, and also added a new 4.2 final drive ratio to make off-the-line acceleration a bit quicker. The 2009 Ford Focus Coupe will have a base MSRP of $15,920 when it goes on sale in late Summer, and you can check it out later tonight when Ford officially debuts it in a video on American Idol. We want to hear what supercar collector has to say about the new look Focus Coupe. Is it a Clay Aiken or a William Hung?

[Source: Ford]



The 2009 Focus coupe is set to debut on "American Idol" on Fox on Wednesday.
  • Sporty updates inspired by customer feedback, including new front and rear fascias, a new roof-line spoiler and standard 17-inch aluminum wheels on the SES series, enhance the car's profile and further differentiate the Focus coupe from the sedan.
  • Performance improvements include increased horsepower on 5-speed manual versions and quicker acceleration, thanks to a new final drive ratio on models with four-speed automatic transmissions – without any compromise to Focus' 35-miles-per-gallon fuel economy rating.
  • Focus posted an 88 percent increase in retail sales in April versus a year ago.
DEARBORN, Mich., May 13, 2008 – The hot-selling Ford Focus debuts a new coupe version for the 2009 model year Wednesday on American's hottest television show – "American Idol." This marks the first time Ford has ever revealed a new product on prime time television.

"Focus is the little car that delivers in a big way for customers, with 35 mpg fuel economy, cool features including SYNC, a fun drive, strong quality and the right price," said John Felice, Ford Division group marketing manager. "We've built on those strengths to deliver an even sportier coupe version for 2009 and thought the 'American Idol' debut would be a new way for customers to see the upgrades for themselves."

The new Focus coupe can be seen for the first time during the Wednesday broadcast of "American Idol" on FOX, which airs at 9 p.m. EST.

The Focus coupe will be part of the "American Idol" Ford Video featuring this season's remaining contestants. Episodes of American Idol typically draws an audience of more than 20 million viewers. The 45-second music video also will be featured on the "American Idol" Web site at www.americanidol.com under the Ford Music Video page.

Sportier Design
Focus retail sales were up 88 percent in April versus the prior year, and a growing number of younger customers have been buying the new Focus model that was launched in late 2007.

"We've spent a lot of time talking with small-car customers and Focus enthusiasts," said Sam De La Garza, Focus marketing manager. "Their overwhelming feedback was that a sportier exterior design could attract even more Millennials, or those people born between 1980 and 1995 – 11,000 of whom reach driving age every day in the U.S."

With that in mind, the Focus team sculpted the coupe's new front and rear fascias to provide a sportier appearance. The lower front fascia incorporates a larger open area that bares a strong resemblance to the acclaimed design of the new global Ford Fiesta subcompact. The fog lamps – now standard – are better integrated into the overall design of the front fascia, and its signature two-bar chrome front grille and chrome accents around the headlamps have been darkened for added differentiation.

"The new coupe looks really sporty," said Thomas Tang, co-founder of www.focusfanatics.com and Ford Focus owner. "It is great to see that Ford values our feedback and is willing to make quick changes."

"The new front fascia, 17-inch sport wheels and fog lamps remind me of the old Focus SVT models," Tang added.

For differentiation, the high-end Focus SES will feature a standard high-mounted spoiler that is incorporated into the design of the roof. The high-mounted design contributes to Focus' overall muscular stance. A decklid spoiler will remain part of the Focus SE exterior design.

New premium-painted Dark Chrome 17-inch aluminum wheels, also standard on SES, complete the coupe's redesigned exterior.

Sounds 'Bad' and Goes Faster -- With More Control
The 2009 Focus SES coupe features more horsepower and a throatier sound, thanks to a new sport-tuned exhaust. The SES coupe with a four-speed automatic transmission will have a new 4.2 final drive ratio to deliver quicker off-the-line acceleration for a faster 0-60 mph time.

A new option for 2009 is electronic stability control (ESC), which uses sophisticated sensors and the anti-lock braking system to help correct skids that can lead to accidents.

Fuel-efficient Powertrains
The 2009 Focus Coupe is equipped with a 2.0-liter, Duratec 20 dual-overhead-cam (DOHC), inline 4-cylinder engine that delivers 143 horsepower when mated to a five-speed manual transmission and 140 horsepower when paired with a four-speed automatic transmission.

Also available is a super-clean, 130-horsepower Duratec 20E engine that qualifies Focus as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PZEV). The 20E's tailpipe emissions are cleaner than some hybrid gas-electric vehicles'. The Duratec 20 and 20E in Focus Coupe are mated to a five-speed manual transmission and achieve EPA-estimated fuel economy of 35 mpg.

SYNC Standard on Focus SES
Also setting the Focus coupe apart from other small cars is Ford's industry-exclusive SYNC technology, which will be standard equipment on the SES series and optional on the SE. SYNC is a fully integrated in-vehicle, voice-activated communications and entertainment system for customers to use their Bluetooth cell phones and digital media players.

SYNC was first introduced on the 2008 Focus and was an immediate hit with customers, helping to increase Focus' share in an extremely competitive small-car market. Nearly 50 percent of the 2008 model year Focus units sold during April included SYNC. SYNC-equipped vehicles sell nearly twice as fast as those without.

SYNC also was a feature that helped motivate editors of Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com to name the 2008 Ford Focus one of the "Top Ten Coolest New Cars Under $18,000" in April.

The 2009 Focus Coupe, available later this summer, will have an MSRP that starts at $15,920. All Focus models are built at the Wayne (Mich.) Assembly Plant.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I dont know if I should laugh or cry (being a former Ford fan)
      • 7 Years Ago

      Why does everyone fawn over the Euro Focus? It starts at the low $20K range and the ST Base price is something like $36K. No one in America in their right minds will buy a $36K 225hp FWD econobox when better performance can be had in a $22K Mazdaspeed 3. Look around people, econoboxes start at $14k and top out around $22K. The Euro Focus starts at that price.

      Europe is willing to pay much more for small cars since those are the bread and butter wit gas $6-$8 a gallon. In America, we expect more for the same amount of $$ so if Ford did so, it would be financial suicide, it would never sell.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Actually, it doesn't I did it by converting british prices to US dollars and then subtracting 20% for VAT. 15,000 Great Britain Pounds is $29,218.50 US Dollars, subtracting VAT, $23,374.80 USD for the stripped base model. Our Focus starts at $14,395. Ford would have to slash the costs by 2/3 to make it competitive.
      • 7 Years Ago
      When is Ford going to fire, perhaps burn at the stake is a better option, its Chief Flash In The Pan designer J. Mays? Year after year of disappointments and embarrassments. Has anyone at Ford figured out that good design sells and that Mr. Mays is devoid of any sense of it.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Gary: If you bring the matches, I'll bring the stake, the rope, and the gasoline.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Jared- I don't think I'd waste precious gas on that.
      • 7 Years Ago
      You know,

      I don't particularly care for this car's looks (especially when compared to Ford's excellent European designs) nor is it a car that I'd consider buying, but you have to give them credit for listening to consumer feedback and making adjustments only one year into the cycle instead of waiting for the 3rd year mid-cycle refresh.

      Ford is not yet making "bold moves" across their line-up, but if they are capable of being this responsive to consumer feedback across their model line, it has to be said that they are doing something right.

      I thought this generation Focus was going to fail because gearheads know it;s a re-body on an old platform, but I don't think most people buying looking at the Focus know any different, so good on them for having a surprise sales hit on their hands, especially from a car that probably cost them relatively little R&D money.

      Oh, and kudos for killing those side vents -- I despise those things. They're like the new jewel lights!

        • 7 Years Ago
        Agree about listening to feedback. Very smart move, and encouraging after only one model year.

        However, your comment about "minimal development cost" for this version of the Focus is incorrect. It was reported (here at Autoblog, even...) that this reskin of the Focus cost more to develop than it would have cost to certified the EU Focus for sale in the US.

        So, I do have to wonder what would have happened if they had brought the EU focus over, added Sync (which is pretty cool for the price, IMO), and advertised the hell out of it as they've done - would they not be in the enviable position of selling cars to the masses who buy for things like Sync, AND the car goobers like those who hang out on Autoblog? A scenario like this would take the car from being a sleeper hit to a positive success.

        Oh well. There's always next time.
        • 7 Years Ago
        ...there is something here. Let's say that it can be marketing or market conditions, but this stuff is a hot sellers no matter the ugly thing we think is it.

        Perhaps the people who buy this car have something to say us and we do not know what it is.

        If these are the results today, hopefully, when the european Focus arrive on 2010 .. Ford will have a hit.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ford, why?

      It's the headlamps that make the Focus so ugly. Why did you leave the headlamps the way they are?

      Make it look like http://luigiianrepublic.wordpress.com/files/2008/05/focus_mustang_restyle.png that.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Y'know, the second I uploaded that image I thought, "maybe not". It looked a little bland. On second thought, I think I was right on that account.
        • 7 Years Ago
        A '95 Civic? I'll pass.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ford should drop the Focus name and rebrand this the Ford Asstek.

      Ford 1 step forward, 38 steps back.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It sells because of the badge. It doesn't matter what it looks like, Ford people will buy it.

      My uncle is a Ford man. You can try and convince him all day long that Ford makes some of the worst cars in the world but he will never listen. My aunt got in a Honda CRV and test drove it and fell in love. She came home with an Escape though just becuase it had to be a Ford.

      With loyalty like that you don't have to make good cars. Problem is that once all those loyal people are dead in 10-20 years you won't have any customers left.

      Reminds me of a restaurant in Lakewood Ohio that Neff might know called Pier W. If you went in there 3 years ago you would notice that there wasn't a customer under the age of 75. Within a few years the restaurant would go out of business because all the customers would be dead.

      The owners did something drastic and completely restyled the restaurant into a hip modern design to try and get young people to come in. Didn't work though because old people don't want to change thier habits and young people do not want to eat with 75 year olds.

      That right there is the problem with Ford. It is a brand for your grandparents. Even though they try to appeal to young people with new designs the 75 year old that has bought a Escort or Focus for the past 20 years isn't going to change regardless of what the car looks like. If you are in your 20's the last thing you want to do is pull up to another brand new focus and see grandma inside.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I see old women driving Mustangs and I still want a new Mustang :)
        • 7 Years Ago
        Give me a break, I see more old people driving Camrys and Accords than Fusions or Focus'.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Yep, still looks like ass
        • 7 Years Ago
        Actually, I think my ass looks better.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't like them wheels at all... I just don't like them wheels...
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm speechless. Words cannot describe the hideousness of that "vehicle."

      The next time Autoblog floats an article about how these Ford execs deserve the millions they get I want all of you to picture the Focus in your mind before typing out your response. Any exec who had a part in green-lighting this abomination should be sent back to the mailroom. Unbelieveable.
      • 7 Years Ago
      There sure are a lot of bitter commentators out there today.

      The changes are an improvement. I didn't like the redesign, but I am as amazed as anyone at the high sales figures.

      When I went with a friend to the San Francisco Auto Show, I pointed to the new Focus. He immediately said,"Wow, what a good looking car." He was a better read on the market than I.

      It would be nice if the criticisms were above were either: short and witty or thoughtful and well articulated. Most of the feedback is useless complaining, which doesn't help inform.

      Perhaps the site needs caterogies for feedback:

      1. Thoughtful critique
      2. Pithy wit
      3. Mindless rants
      • 7 Years Ago
      Goosh! Shoot it and put it out of its misery. That is soooo UGLY! I don't care if it has SYNC! That is just ugly!

      Quit perfuming the pig!
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