Ford didn't come out and say it that way, but it has found American drivers are more prone to complain about automatics in smaller-engine cars, Raj Nair, Ford's group vice president of global product development, said at a press conference last week. The recent JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study backs up Ford's claims, pointing out that drivers are complaining about rough transmission shifts, engine hesitation and lack of power, particularly in small cars. In Europe and other parts of the world, drivers seem to understand the quirks of these pint-sized engines, Nair said, so they'll have the option to buy an automatic. Ford is working on tuning its dual-clutch transmissions to make them more amenable to American driver's tastes.
Ford will show off the refreshed 2015 Focus at the Geneva Motor Show in early March. The car is due for an update, having been on sale in its current form since 2012. The automaker said it is jamming the car full of new technology – like a USB port that promises to charge your phone in half the time as a regular USB port. Features like Sync and a rear back-up camera will come standard. For a more in-depth look at the car, take a look at the full press release.
• Redesigned Ford Focus delivers new exterior design, completely revised interior and advanced new technologies for improved customer comfort and safety
• 1.0-liter EcoBoost® engine raises the competitive bar for fuel efficiency
• New Focus will offer driver-assist technology including a standard rearview camera, along with available lane-keeping system and Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®)
DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 24, 2014 – The 2015 Ford Focus, the world's best-selling nameplate, is expected to hold onto this coveted title with a bold new look that emulates other recent Ford vehicle designs and more advanced technologies that improve driver comfort and safety.
The new look and added technologies were revealed today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the world's largest exhibition for the mobile industry.
"We have taken the title of world's best-selling nameplate to impressive new heights with the redesigned Focus," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford executive vice president and president of The Americas. "Its combination of compelling, modern design and the most high-tech interior in the class will appeal to contemporary consumers who desire a small car with very sophisticated features. What makes Focus so attractive to consumers today – being great to drive, delivering exceptional fuel economy and value, and offering leading-edge in-car technologies – is amplified with the new Focus."
Award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost
In addition to a host of styling and technological advances, the new Focus will offer the remarkably efficient, fun-to-drive, award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost® engine with a six-speed transmission – surpassing the fuel efficiency of the previous model, and once again raising the bar amongst the competition. Twice already, automotive journalists have named Ford's 1.0-liter EcoBoost powerplant International Engine of the Year, for 2012 and 2013.
"The 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine is proof that excellent fuel economy and performance can come in one package," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, global product development. "Focus is already known for bringing together efficiency and fun, and our latest addition will bring consumers a whole new level of enjoyment – on the road and at the pump."
The smallest engine in the company's growing EcoBoost family will increase the choice for Ford customers in the United States, as Fiesta is already available with the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine.
In Europe, where it is already on five nameplates, the 1.0-liter EcoBoost accounts for 32 percent of sales of the current-generation Focus and 26 percent of Fiesta sales this year. Robust demand for the 1.0-liter in Europe has prompted Ford to double production capacity at its state-of-the-art plant in Cologne, Germany, to more than 1,000 engines a day.
EcoBoost technology combines smaller-displacement engines with turbocharging, direct injection, variable valve timing and proprietary Ford software to bring customers outstanding performance and fuel economy. Ford EcoBoost engines can deliver significantly better fuel economy than larger-displacement gasoline engines.
Stylish new Focus
The new Focus will arrive with a more stylish, bold look. It features a restyled hood and grille, signature lighting for the headlamps and taillamps, new rear lamp clusters and a restyled trunk lid. Four-door and five-door versions will be available in the United States.
Inside, colors and materials have a clean, modern look, with 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, easier-to-access glove box.
A package of sensors brings a new level of convenience for compact car customers by adding driver-assist technologies including a rearview camera and an available Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) and lane-keeping system.
Standard on Focus for the first time, the rearview camera will appear on either a 4.2-inch screen or the 8-inch screen that comes with MyFord Touch®-equipped cars.
BLIS uses two multiple-beam radar modules, the same used with cross-traffic alert, which are packaged in the rear quarter panels, one on each side. The radar identifies when a vehicle enters the defined blind spot zone and illuminates an indicator light on the corresponding sideview mirror, providing a warning that a vehicle is approaching.
Should a Focus driver start to drift out of the current lane without a turn signal on, the available lane-keeping system provides a warning through a series of steering wheel vibrations that mimic a rumble strip. If the unintended lane departure is not corrected by the driver, the aid function of the system actively applies steering torque to help the driver direct the car back toward the center of the current lane.
New Focus drivers will also have access to powerful new capabilities thanks to a host of new functions developers can integrate as they modify their apps to communicate with enhanced SYNC® AppLink™.
Android and iOS smartphone owners can download more than 60 AppLink-enabled apps from the Apple App Store and Android market.
New functions include:
• Connected apps can access a variety of real-time vehicle data such as speed, acceleration, odometer and location information that can be used by the app to further customize and personalize the user experience. For example, access to the in-vehicle GPS signal can enable more precise and accurate location-based services than phone sensors
• More consistent user experience thanks to voice pass-through capability. This enables developers to use on-device or cloud-based voice-recognition systems to evaluate driver commands, meaning drivers can use the same set of voice commands to control an app when connected to the vehicle as they would use when not connected
• Notifications read aloud as a driver enters the car, with no need to touch the phone. Best of all, alerts are available any time a mobile device is connected to SYNC AppLink, even if the app is not currently active. This means a driver could get an alert about a traffic jam ahead while listening to the radio or using another app
In addition to the many advancements in exterior styling, interior design, powertrain and technology, the new Focus will also benefit from suspension and chassis upgrades. These include a new shock absorber valve design providing improved interior quietness, a new electronic stability program system with less intrusion and improved comfort, and a change to the rear suspension to give drivers a more connected feel to the road.
The 2015 Ford Focus goes on sale in the second half of 2014.
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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 181,000 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 and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.