So far this year (through the end of May), Ford sold 723 Focus Electrics in the US. Not a whole lot – especially compared to Nissan, which sold more than ten times that many Leafs (7,614). What's interesting is that Ford isn't going to immediately make a bunch of changes for the 2014 model year to try and push that number up. Not according to a report in The Detroit News, anyway.

Nancy Gioia, Ford's director of Global Electrification, told the News that Ford is happy with sales of the Focus EV. This makes sense, since company representatives have long said they never expected to sell many of them. Specifically, Gioia told the News, "We still see battery electric as niche. We think that by focusing on the plug-ins and that awareness, we actually end up benefiting both the hybrids and the plug-ins."

Despite the "niche" aspect, Ford isn't going to ignore the EV. To that end, Ford is also going to add more production capacity of its only EV, this time in Europe. The company announced today that it has started making the car in Saarlouis, Germany.

There are two main reasons the Leaf sales increased this year: local production (which resulted in a big price drop) and 2013 model year updates. Direct comparisons are difficult, since the Focus EV and the Leaf are on different parts in their lifecycles and we can expect improvements to the Focus down the road, but it'll be interesting to see if just adding one of those two factors will be enough to boost sales.

Read our Focus EV First Drive here and see the Saarlouis announcement below.
Show full PR text
Ford Focus Electric Production Begins in Europe; First European-Built Fully-Electric Ford Vehicle Rolls off the Line
  • First all-new Focus Electric rolls off Ford production line in Saarlouis, Germany. It's Ford's first fully electric vehicle built in Europe
  • Focus Electric spearheads Ford's electrified vehicle line-up in Europe, C MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle and all-new Mondeo Hybrid coming next year
  • SmartGauge and Brake Coach technology help Focus Electric drivers optimise electric driving potential
  • Focus Electric is the first full-electric vehicle to be manufactured in Germany directly from a volume production line
SAARLOUIS, Germany, June 12, 2013 – Ford Motor Company today began a new chapter in its vehicle manufacturing history with the start of production of the all-new Focus Electric – the first full-electric vehicle to be built by Ford in Europe – in Saarlouis, Germany.

The zero-emission Focus Electric is spearheading Ford's line-up of electrified and highly fuel-efficient vehicles, and will be joined in Europe by the C MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) next year, followed by the all-new Mondeo Hybrid soon after.

Developed as a "One Ford" global vehicle, the Focus Electric features an advanced electric motor and lithium-ion battery powertrain that produces 143 PS and achieves a top speed of 136 km/h. Focus Electric has been manufactured in North America since December 2011 and the Saarlouis-built Focus Electric will reach European customers from August this year.

"Focus Electric marks the dawn of an exciting new age of full-electric Ford passenger vehicles in Europe, and demonstrates the success of the One Ford strategy in making this sophisticated vehicle available to our European customers," said Barb Samardzich, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. "It's a car that addresses the mobility demands and environmental concerns of today's car buyers in the most direct way possible – combining performance and advanced technology with a zero-emission powertrain."

The launch of European production of Focus Electric was attended by Bernhard Mattes, chairman Ford-Werke GmbH; Martin Chapman, Saarlouis plant manager, Ford of Germany; Germany's Federal Minister for the Environment, Peter Altmaier, and Prime Minister of the Saarland, Annegret Kramp Karrenbauer.

Ford has invested €16 million to integrate Focus Electric production directly into the established Focus production line at Saarlouis, delivering the flexibility to react to market demand with increased production volumes.

"The start of Focus Electric production in Saarlouis is hugely significant for Ford in Germany, and underlines Ford's position as a leader in automotive innovation," said Mattes. "We are giving customers the Power of Choice so they can decide whether a fuel efficient conventional powertrain or an electrified vehicle is right for their needs."

The all-new Focus Electric is the first full-electric vehicle to be manufactured in Germany directly from a volume production line. Each Focus Electric is equipped with a 6.6 kW fully integrated onboard charger that can deliver around 100 km driving range with 2-3 hours charging, and around 150 km driving range with 3-4 hours charging from a 32 A power supply.*

Focus Electric features a new user interface called SmartGauge which calculates and displays range based on remaining energy; the driver's unique vehicle use, across braking and acceleration inputs; and the use of accessories such as climate control and audio systems.

The Focus Electric's sophisticated powertrain uses regenerative braking to capture up to 95 per cent of kinetic energy normally lost during the braking process, while the innovative Brake Coach feature encourages gradual braking to help return more energy to the battery.

# # #

* Charging time will vary according to vehicle usage and environmental conditions. Approximate charge times based on external factors including driving style, accessory loading, battery state of charge and temperature.

# # #

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 175,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com

Ford of Europe is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 50 individual markets and employs approximately 47,000 employees at its wholly owned facilities and approximately 69,000 people when joint ventures and unconsolidated businesses are included. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 24 manufacturing facilities (15 wholly owned or consolidated joint venture facilities and nine unconsolidated joint venture facilities). The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 – the same year Ford Motor Company was founded. European production started in 1911.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 28 Comments
      ebn.hahn
      • 1 Day Ago
      Leaf is a Golf cart.. much cheaper than Focus. Focus is a real size car with a lot more safety, content and technology......
      raktmn
      • 1 Day Ago
      Translation: We aren't even trying, but we will use our failure to even try to say that California ZEV requirements should be canceled.
        Spec
        • 1 Day Ago
        @raktmn
        But that won't work considering that the Leaf and Model S are selling fine. The Fiat 500e will also surely sell out. And the Honda Fit EV just sold out apparently. Ford knows that product flopped. They are just trying to get a few more sales across the pond. They are not going to get many.
          Rob Mahrt
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Spec
          +1 Marco Polo
          Marco Polo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Spec
          @ Spec Not everything has to be viewed through the prism of US (or Californian) politics ! Ford is a global manufacturer, with global competition. The obsession of American's with themselves, (especially Californian's) is what causes the US to make colossal errors in foreign policy. No one denies Elon Musk's achievement with the exciting model S, but to describe it as a "huge" world-wide success, is only true in a very, very, limited sense. (Tesla hopes to produce 20-30,000 units per year, Toyota produces that many units per day ! VW sells 100 times as more units in China alone, than Tesla's total production). Endless indignation about some right-wing US pundits, whom few Americans listen to, (and almost no one outside the US) is counter-productive. It only draws attention to these crazies, while wrongly identifying EV technology as the creation of leftist, democrat, partisan politics. US global power, is currently being contested by a determined PRC, whose rulers think not in four year cycles, but plan long term, generations ahead. The strength of America (and western allies) is the ability to innovate and implement rapid changes through free market unpredictability. Endless bickering about parochial politics, and a focus on parochial issues, without much understanding of the rest of the world, has proven to be an American weakness. Forget what some cracker barrel pundit says on some show, with an audience of non-entities, forget about political point-scoring, instead concentrate on uniting all auto-consumers to appreciate the advantages of EV technology.
          raktmn
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Spec
          If anyone is ignorant enough to believe that Ford even sells an EV today for any other reason than the existence of California ZEV requirements, they are fooling themselves.
          raktmn
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Spec
          You forget that in the right-wing bubble, that the Volt is a flop because it didn't sell 45K cars, like GM first projected back in the spring of 2008 before the economic crash. And that it costs a quarter of a million to build each one. And that the Leaf is a flop because they didn't hit their pre-global economic crash numbers. Then they will say the Fiat 500e is a flop because the CEO says they may be selling them at "UP TO a $10K loss" without actually providing any numbers to back that up. Don't get me started on Tesla. The myriad of excuses for why they think Tesla is a failure and will go bankrupt inside the anti-EV bubble is absolutely insane. I'm suggesting that Ford is in that bubble, or at least thinks they can appeal to those who are in that bubble.
          Spec
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Spec
          Well they can make up any excuses they want but I find it highly unlikely that the CARB system will be changed considering that it has helped make Tesla a huge world-wide success story based out of Fremont, California. Ahnuld liked it and Jerry Brown is not going to do anything to hurt them (even though Elon mocks the high-speed rail initiative.)
          raktmn
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Spec
          I sure hope you are right, but here is an example of what I'm talking about. This coming out of Reuters just a few hours ago: "Doldrums in U.S. electric car sales could linger indefinitely" "So how many plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles has the Los Angeles dealership actually sold? "Very, very few," said Beau Boeckmann, whose family owns Galpin Ford, the automaker's largest U.S. dealership." http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/12/us-autos-ev-future-idUSBRE95B17T20130612
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Day Ago
        @raktmn
        Ford also couldn't build a decent minivan... Not every automaker can provide a competitive product for every market niche, and there's no reason (other than a legal mandate) why they should be forced to try.
      EZEE
      • 1 Day Ago
      All that is true, but what will they learn from selling 100 a year....maybe less?
      Marco Polo
      • 1 Day Ago
      Ford is happy with it's market share, and content to continue to allow it's EV program to progress slowly but surely, in an overlooked market niche. Ford's concentration of applying EV technology through it's hybrid range has proved very profitable, and Ford is putting the Nasser era,( when it looked into the abyss of financial oblivion), well behind it, by concentrating on securing it's financial future. It will be interesting to see how the traditionally conservative UK market reacts to the equally conservative Ford Focus EV.
      sandos
      • 1 Day Ago
      When will they start selling the ford c-max energi here? Not that it seems to be that good, but there is not a lot of plug-in options here.
      • 1 Day Ago
      I do not see any US marketing behind this car niche or not. Is Ford trying to kill it's own product? The Focus Electric is a really nice car that has a good range. I cannot understand the motivation here.
      • 1 Day Ago
      Being one of the 723 who bought a ford focus electric in 2013 (march), I love this car so far! Simply amazing. I've owned Toyotas, Hondas, a GM, a BMW, Subarus, Acuras, an Isuzu. This Ford is at the top so far. Time proves how good a car really is. Quiet, smooth, efficient, gadget loaded - my teens fight to drive it. And no range anxiety. I know I can go 40 miles away and get back so I know which towns I can reach. Quiet, smooth(no shifting), and quick. If 40 miles out works for you, lease this car and enjoy! Btw - recharge @230v takes me 1.5 hours and then I'm off for 40 more miles. Electric bill was $30 more last month. I'm at $100 per month on gasoline.
      EZEE
      • 1 Day Ago
      If Ford is happy with selling so few cars, adding production in Europe is a bit confusing. If they built the focus as a compliance car - well, fine. But then how many do they expect to sell in Europe. 70? 90? With the exception of being able to say, "yea, me too" - I don't see the point. And yes - sales of electrics are still at niche market size. Fine. But, if Nissan is selling 7000 - wouldn't one think Ford might want to try to kick Nissan's butt? Or at least, take a meaningful market share? Maybe...2000? If this care is a stepping stone to something far better - well good. If Ford has nothing in the works as far as an upgraded model, then again i would say, "what's the point?"
        Marco Polo
        • 1 Day Ago
        @EZEE
        @ Ezee, The point is Ford sells to a selected market. The Ford Focus EV shares the majority of it's build cost with it's ICE sibling. The Focus EV is the perfect car to test market reactions. The history of Ford's earlier investments in EV models, didn't work out very well. The Focus represents a more cautious approach . Carlos Ghosn has yet to produce a profit from Renault-Nissans enormous investment in EV technology, and that's made a deep impression on a financially recovering Ford. (No EV in the economy to middle range, has yet made a profit, 2000 certainly wouldn't !). Ford is just maintaining it's presence and testing the market not covered by other EV makers. The Focus is produced to different philosophy to totally clean sheet design EV models. This concept has advantage and disadvantages. The idea of offering a different drive train in an existing popular model, horrifies some EV purists, but has some more mainstream supporters. Building the Focus EV in Europe is not hard for Ford since the Focus design originated at Ford Europe. Ford Europe has been campaigning for some time to build a European version of the Focus EV.
        ebn.hahn
        • 1 Day Ago
        @EZEE
        Compare apples to apples!!. The Leaf is a Golf Cart and much cheaper than the Focus.., the Focus has more content, more safety and more technology, and has the size of a mid size car...
      Ben Crockett
      • 1 Day Ago
      I am happy to see that they are at least building them - and to get real world R&D and marketing instead of just on proving grounds, which can be built on for future models. I would expect them to sell better in Europe where small segment cars are more common and accepted than the US of A.
        throwback
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Ben Crockett
        I would expect sell the Focus eve to sell less in Europe if Leaf sales are anything to go by.
        Ben Crockett
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Ben Crockett
        throwback not sure if as easy as just comparing to Nissan. Ford market share of sales in the small car segment are strong in particular in the UK where they love the Fiesta and Focus models (overall market share is about 15% for all models). Is saying though strong sales of the Focus gasser will not necessary translate to strong sales of Focus EV, but it may sell well on the back of the on the good rep of quality of the Focus gasser.
      Kimmi
      • 1 Day Ago
      Right now Ford is the seventh best selling plug-in car manufacturer and one way to improve that is to sell outside the US. So far, so good, but things get weird when they choose the worst selling model (Focus EV) to start sales abroad...And things get weirder when the european Focus EV is the same has the american and yet Ford decides to produce it in Germany instead of just increasing the numbers in the existing production line, i mean, does an additional 70-100 monthly units sold in Europe justifies a second production line? (For more info, go to http://www.ev-sales.blogspot.com/2013/05/world-top-10-april-2013.html)
        throwback
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Kimmi
        The cars are built on the same production line as the gas focus, so it is cheaper to build them in Europe than to ship from the USA.
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Day Ago
      @ Marco Polo Well, if there is greater demand in Europe, Ford may sell far more than 100 per year. But, just by building the car in Europe gives Ford Europe engineers experience and the initiative to design for the future. Ford's European dealers also gain the experience of selling not only EV's, but Ford EV technology in hybrids.
      EZEE
      • 1 Day Ago
      You are thinking of the smart car. The leaf is bigger than a fiesta, and has as much (or more) room than a Focus.
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