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Ford Focus Owners Tell Ford What you Want!

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  • www.autoweek.com

    The revised 2008 Ford Focus was revealed today (01/07/2006) at the Detroit Auto Show (North American International Auto Show for purists). www.naias.com

    I haven't seen any interior shots or driven one, so my comments are tempered. The changes on the outside are mostly cosmetic to make the car look longer and leaner without much more than surface detailing differences. The roof line appears unchanged. The wheel arches are less of a separate architectural detail, losing the hard circle edge and instead blending smoothly into the fenders. Commentary claims substantial improvements in noise control and sound deadening with different glass employed among other strategies. The 2008 Focus body doesn't wow, but neither does it offend. The back side and rear three quarters views have a bit of the Subaru Legacy. The front end and front fenders seem busier and a bit less refined. As the current Focus looks better in person than in photographs, I'll reserve final judgment.

    It's still an open question. Is a revision of the current Focus platform enough to be competitive or is it a false economy? I'm sure the development costs are less than an all new model, but ultimately it is sales, growth and profitability that Ford desperately needs. Can this restyled and mildly re-engineered Focus regain sales momentum and increase transaction prices? I drive a Focus and am a fan, but I'm reserving judgment. The exterior of the 2008 is not enough to make me run out and replace my 2005 with a new Focus.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    The only compacts with Driving dynamics equal to or better than the current Focus are the Mazda3, the Civic, and the new Rabbit and the Focus is still competitive and way outshines the Corolla, the Cobalt, the Caliper, the Koreans, and the new Sentra. The Corolla and the Sentra do not even offer 4 wheel independant suspension.

    Focus costs significantly less than a Mazda3, Civic, or Rabbit. After rebates, a Focus SE 4 door Auto is under $14,000!

    Photos of 2008 Ford Focus
  • The pictures of the newly refreshed 2008 Ford Focus interior look to be a promising upgrade. The simplification of the model line down to two body styles and only two engines (both 2.0 liters) probably makes business sense as complexity is expensive. The simplification unfortunately means the enthusiast focused 2.3 liter ST sport model is dead.

    The Focus does have great driving dynamics. (It's why I own a Focus ST.) But the styling has to get people into the car to experience the difference. My question is not about driving dynamics (which should be even better with a stiffer chassis), but about whether a mild re-engineering and reskinning is enough to grab consumer attention and revive sales.

    I'm not thrilled with the new exterior, but the new interior may just have the style for people to notice.

    The expected all-new 2010 model will have to contend with the new Saturn Astra that will almost certainly be more of a driver's car than the Japanese and Korean competitors. 2010 is too long to wait for a total redesign, but it's too late now for Ford to change.

    It does sound like a new B-class (next size smaller) will be coming to the Ford line-up in 2008 or 2009.
  • negreanegrea Posts: 1
    Hello!!! I have a Focus and recently I change a light, and I deconnect the batery. After that I cannot use the radio-cd. I have the key code for that but I do not know how to enter it. Can you help me, please?
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,459
    not much buzz here on the new focus. i have a 2.3 zts, and think it is a great engine, very torquey.
  • The enthusiasts are not happy about the re-engineered '08 Focus. Ford drops our favorite 2.3 liter engine and denies us the well received European Focus. Message? For the next couple of years, enthusiasts are not a Focus target market. Will Ford be around in 2010 to win some of us back with an all new Focus? Or will Ford try to win enthusiasts in 2009 with a new B-class car? Will anyone be left who cares? Ford's failure to sustain and support successes with real replacements is killing it. Taurus was left to languish on the vine, surrendering even competition for the top sales slot. Now Focus and Ranger are fading to anonymity just when fuel economy matters again. Ford cannot survive on just the F-150. Style and quality drive transaction price. The only virtue of the 2008 Focus is low development costs. Ford cannot save its way to profitability. People have to want to buy. Ford is killing the passion.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    How many $19,000 Focui (Focuses) do you think Ford can sell? Thats more than an SE Fusion with the 2.3L

    I'd like to see Ford with a true B-segment entry so that the Focus can be moved a little up market.

    A Focus SE with Auto and Convenience and Sport Pkgs is under $18,000. With discount and and $2,500 rebate, you are under $15,000 which is less than a Nissan Versa S.

    Ford needs to decide WHAT THE FOCUS is suppose to be, right now its kind of bastardized. Its not really a B-segment car, nor does it compete with Civic, Mazda3, Rabbit.

    Mark.
  • mschmal asks a great question. What is the Focus supposed to be right now?

    Is it a C-class to compete with the Golf/Rabbit/Jetta? e.g., a small family car in the compact class. In size and driving dynamics, the Focus is a Jetta competitor, but not in list or transaction price.

    Is it an overgrown B-class to compete with the Hyundai Accent, e.g., a sub-compact car. The B-class in America has a lot of new entrants with the new Accent, Nissan Versa, Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris and updated Chevy Aveo. In transaction price (not list) the Focus competes against these smaller cars.

    The new Focus may provide more car and safety than the B-Class competitors, but not higher fuel economy.

    Can the Focus image be polished enough to be cool to the young buyers drawn to B-class cars? Or will it only catch the value-conscious who are not image conscious?

    How to design the next Focus depends a lot on the answers. If it has to compete in the B-class price range, Ford better build the next Focus somewhere other than high cost countries like the US, Canada or Germany.

    Should it be practical as a family car (a C-class attribute) or more geared to the two front seats (a B-class attribute)?

    Can the sporting version of the Focus overlap the midsize cousin (the Fusion/Milan) in price? Are Americans willing to pay for sport at the expense of rear seat and trunk room?

    Stay with the upright family friendly architecture or go more low slung like the Civic?

    How much should fuel economy drive design? Or driving dynamics? Do prospective Focus owners really care about the superior driving dynamics? Corolla gets by with a twist beam rear axle and no one complains. The Civic has no back seat compared to the Focus and no one complains.

    Does Ford need a car in between the new (as yet unnamed) B-class and the Fusion? Is it in between in price or in between in size? Features? Fuel economy?

    Can Ford afford such model diversity? Complexity is costly. I understand why the Focus model line was trimmed for 2008.

    All I know for sure is that while Ford has to save money, saving money by delaying competitive model replacements won't work. Ford can't save its way to profitability. It desperately needs a real and sustained sales hit beyond the F-150. The re-engineered Focus for 2008 is like a defeated army regrouping behind a delaying action. It is not a counter attack. I guess we have to wait for 2009 (the B-class) or 2010 for the new offensive.

    Can an independent Ford hang on that long?

    At minimum list prices have to move closer to real transaction prices so that people are making real value comparisons. If Ford could point out how much more car for the dollar they are getting with a Focus compared to the B-class price competition (size, driving dynamics and safety especially), they'd have legitimate attributes to market.
  • zxwzxw Posts: 10
    The original Focus became an "everyman's car" like the Charlie Brown of the auto universe. You wanted sporty ? you got the ST ... you wanted a tuner with untility ? you got one of the zippy hatches ... you wanted basic, you got the omnipotent 4 door sedan ... you wanted great utility in one of the last true wagon styles, you got the wagon ... now of course there will be no more wagons or hatches which is a true loss. And further proof Ford continues to lose their way, giving up more of their heritage. For all you auto trivia fans out there ... 9 out of the 10 all time best selling wagons have been Fords.

    The '08 Ford seems to be so refined and diluted now. As if the original concept has gone to finishing school and stayed far too long. With only 2 of the original 5 body styles remaining, this is 3 less reasons I wouldn't consider another Foci. The new Focus has lost all the desirability and charm of the original concept and from the outside seems to be just another trick Escort from the '80's. How retro is that ? But at least Ford threw in the great lounge lizard Mustang mood lighting on the dash ... the old Escort barely had a headliner light if I recall ... and we can all play our classic Meatloaf tunes on our in dash MVP players ... "I can see Paradise by the dash board lights... " Ford has always been able to field a good wagon, a good small car, and usually both ideas in one design ... but the '08 Focus isn't going to be one of those cars ... at this time, Ford seems to have definitely lost their way. A real American tragedy. IMHO, of course.

    ZXW Robb, owner of the one of the last Foci wagons ... "Big Blue".
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    but we have an older demographic.

    Mark.
  • zxwzxw Posts: 10
    Demographics ... ah yes, our ages or our cars, to paraphrase a certain song.

    Focus groups have found that young stay-at-home moms like the Focus wagon as an alternative to the main family vehicle which tends to be an Explorer or Expedition. Older folks like 'em too as they tend to be less expensive than other small wagons, if I dare say so.

    Then there's rogues like myself, who don't fit any category, other than the fact I like the car for what it is. Practical, yet sporty, well optioned & affordable too. Every local Philly area dealer questioned why I wanted a wagon, and kept pushing me towards a Fusion or a Mustang. For me that was the quickest way to lose a sale. I drove down to see "Big Blue" one balmy November Saturday after locating him on line at Bob Davidson Ford, near Baltimore Maryland. The sales manager asked me just once "Do you like the color" as he thought the bright aqua blue metallic might be a tad too "out there". Well, as Bart would say "Au Contraire" !!!

    I have owned 3 Focus wagons now, so I guess I'm aging with the wagon set, or perhaps the mommy set. Don't care ! Live free and drive a Ford and screw the demographics !

    ZXW Robb, and of course "Big Blue".
  • How about design the Focus to fit a baby car seat? When using the latch system, you can't even buckle into either the left or right hand seat in the back. The car seat wobbles violently.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    If your car seat wobbles, confirm that you put the seat belt into "CAR SEAT MODE" by pulling it completely out then letting it ratchet back. If you don't hear the pawls clicking as the seatbelt retracts, it is not in CAR SEAT MODE.

    Mark.
  • Awesome! I never thought of that. Does this mean I can get rid of the aggravating clip by using this method when using the seat belt to buckle the baby seat in?
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    Sorry, the belt probably needs the clip to fit right :(

    Depends on your seat, if it came with clips, you neeed the clip.

    Mark.
  • slinkzx3slinkzx3 Posts: 6
    note to ford. if you want the focus to compete with honda v-tecs, which zetec sounds like its supposed to compete with, your sporty version needs to be all sport. e.g. not so quiet: engine vroom vs mechanical whir, high revs and good throttle response, torque is nice but impression shouldn't diminish with rpm, egr system is dumb- i hope not completly necesary for emissions, and trick stuff like the dual-stage intake manifold from the svt.

    one little thing: speed sensitive volume knob=dumb. its on my '02 and it can be frustrating. i don't know if its gone yet on new foci or not. if not, it needs to go, just a normal knob is good.

    otherwise, focus zx3 is great. keep it around.

    08 focus might look a little too korean. go for streety look like the new civic. i hate honda but it does look cool.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    Since 2005, all Foci come with a Duratec engine either the Duratec 20 or Duratec 23.

    vtec tech is so 1994. Vetec only offers 2 cam profiles. Most other car markers, including Ford, use a infinately varible valve timing setup that is computer controlled. For cost reasons though, the Foci does not have VVT. However, all Foci still have more HP than Civics except for the Civic SI.

    Mark
  • slinkzx3slinkzx3 Posts: 6
    ONLY two cam profiles. last time i checked, only v-tecs had more than one profile, including cars equiped with variable valve timing. variable timing is great but it does nothing for duration or lift.

    about the duratecs. are they any good? by good i mean zippy, fast sports-compact. the zx3 was supposed to be good, but it was hardly any different from the other granny foci. its really unfortunate that they're getting rid of the hatch-backs. the focus was actually getting relatively popular in the tuner arena for its good handling. ford could really invade that segment if it had a real 'zetec' motor. the japanese cater to tuners, and now there are almost more riced-up civics than suped-up mustangs in the typical high school parking lot. :( ford needs to have something to compete with them.
  • You can't cater to everyone. If you cater to the "I've got chrome tips so my car is faster" crowd then you get no respect from those who by the car for what it is: a reliable inexpensive form of transportation, about $.22/mile to drive plus insurance.
  • mschmalmschmal Posts: 1,757
    130 hp 130 lbft. Pretty good stats for a car in that weight range. Its very zippy with the man trans, less so with the anchient 4 speed auto.

    I'm only 35 and in my memory, cars have gone from 3 speeds to 7 speed auto trans. Ain't tech great?

    Incidently, those who want a really sporty compact should check out the Mazda3. Its pretty much everything thats gout about the Focus turned up a notch.

    Mark
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