Ford hopes affordability of Focus ST will lure Americans
It's the affordable performance car many have been waiting for since the 2010 Paris motor show when Ford revealed the Focus ST and announced it would be sold in America in 2012.
The 2013 Focus ST is a global compact car — Europeans don't get to hog the fun — with a direct-injection, turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine and six-speed manual transmission. That is good for 252 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque.
The car went on sale Aug. 21 and has sold 750 through this week, with 73 percent of them top-trim level ST3s, a $4,400 upgrade that includes heated Recaro performance seats, said Seema Bardwaj, North America ST brand manager.
The expectation is the ST will account for about 4 percent of Focus sales in America, Bardwaj said.
The introduction of the Focus ST shows Ford's SVT (Special Vehicle Team) is still alive, having been almost dormant during the recession. The Focus ST is the third vehicle in the lineup, joining the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor and Mustang Shelby GT500.
“We've never been dead,” said Tim Smith, SVT vehicle engineer. “We're on a positive slope.”
To be part of the global performance lineup, vehicles must meet criteria on everything from steering and braking to sound quality and seating.
The Focus ST checked off all the boxes with larger brakes, available Recaro seats and a redesigned intake system using an active sound symposer that pipes the engine noise into the cabin.
“It contributes to the entire performance experience,” said Smith.
The 2013 model has more power but uses 25 percent less fuel than the outgoing Focus ST, which was only sold in Europe.
To raise awareness, Ford held performance academy events in Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, New York and San Francisco, where potential customers could take timed drives. More events are planned, possibly for Dallas, Chicago and Atlanta, Bardwaj said.
So far, 45 percent of ST sales are customers 16 to 35, Bardwaj said, which means it is also appealing to older buyers, especially empty-nesters. She thinks 45 percent of sales will be to those ages 35 to 55 and 10 percent will be older than that.
“Everyone knows about Mustang,” Bardwaj said. “It's nice to drive the same excitement up about Focus. We're starting to say we're playing in this space that was dominated by the imports.”
The main competitors are the Mazdaspeed 3 and Subaru WRX.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Operating loss widens at Highmark parent
- Summer blend to boost gasoline prices over next month
- Pennsylvania grid operator might delay power auction for new rules
- Anchor Hocking parent EveryWare files for Chapter 11
- Conventional gas, oil drillers seek rules differing from shale industry in Pennsylvania
- Consol Energy files for IPO of coal spin-off
- Pittsburgh region’s unemployment rate stays steady
- Pa. Gas & Electric agrees to $6.8 million settlement of polar vortex claims
- GNC will expand its testing of supplements in settlement with NY
- Stocks of Pittsburgh-area companies set record in March
- U.S. Steel considers temporary shutdown of Minn. plant