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First Look: Ford Focus ST

Ford contest to let 100 winners fly to Europe to test-drive new Focus.

by on Sep.30, 2010

The "Tangerine Scream" paint says a lot about the new Ford Focus ST.

Though Ford gave the world an early look at the next-generation Focus, which is making its official debut in the City of Lights, this week, it saved some good things for the company’s Paris Motor Show press conference, notably the roll-out of the all-new Focus ST.

Set to go on sale in Europe in early 2012, the 5-door looks to be more than just another one of the many spin-offs using the all-new C-car platform as the base Focus.  It promises to be a true screamer.

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The most sporting of the new Focus variants, shown in Paris in a Tangerine Scream paint scheme, the hot hatch will make a solid 246 horsepower out of its 2.0-liter inline-four Ecoboost engine.  Look for serious off-the-line acceleration, the maker says, and the exhaust note to go with it.

The angle most folks will see of the 246-hp Focus ST.

The Focus ST, say company execs, will deliver to “driving enthusiasts an intoxicating cocktail of exhilarating performance and handling accompanied by an addictive sound.”

The Focus ST will be distinguished by deeper air intakes, a roof spoiler and side skirts.  The interior gets a contrasting-stitch leather dash and some carbon fiber-effect accents.

The ST is just one of a growing list of variants of the all-new Focus, a critical part of the Detroit maker’s One Ford strategy.

Sporty wheels and big brakes for the quickest new Focus model, the new ST.

That means a truly global platform in which 80% of the underlying components are shared around the world – though some details will still vary by market, responding to government regulations, for one thing, as well as local customer demands.

Ultimately, Ford expects to do 10 different models off the global C-car platform, generating worldwide sales volumes it forecasts will reach 2 million annually — though Focus will be the most critical of the offerings.  Several variants will ultimately go on sale in the U.S., though the maker remains skeptical about adding a Focus wagon to the Stateside line-up.

Carbon fiber-style inserts and cross-stitched leater for the Focus ST interior.

Meanwhile, Ford is launching what it claims to be the most aggressive marketing campaign ever based around the social media powerhouse, Facebook.  It hopes to reach 500 million of the site’s users, offering them a chance to take part in the Focus Global Test Drive.

One hundred winners will be flown to a “secret” location in Paris to test drive the new model.

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