As more and more buyers flock to crossovers and SUVs in most parts of the world, conventional sedans, hatchbacks and wagons are facing an existential crisis and some will not live beyond their current generations.
One such vehicle is the current Ford Focus. It has also been culled in major markets such as the US after Ford decided to focus most of its energy on pick-ups and SUVs. Now it appears that the Ford Focus is also facing extinction in its home market of Europe.
According to Automotive News Europe, Ford Europe boss Stuart Rowley stated that the Saarlouis plant in Germany, which produces the Focus, was likely to be re-purposed, and that no new models were currently planned for the facility.
This likely means the end of Focus hatch and wagon production in Europe, but it’s not impossible that the Chinese-built Focus sedan might survive to see another generation as was the case with the Mondeo.
The Ford Focus was first released in 1998 as a global replacement for the long-standing and highly successful Escort. Featuring Ford’s ‘New Edge’ design language, it was a more sophisticated product that found favour with buyers seeking to move upmarket.
The Focus was initially a success, with almost 550,000 units finding homes in Europe alone in 2001, but by last year annual European sales had dwindled to 101 000 units.
The first-generation Focus entered Nigeria as a low-volume import, but the second-generation model was built here from 2005 as Ford sought to make it a more mainstream product. However, gen-3 reverted to being an import as Ford in Nigeria decided to focus) on other models to keep its customers.
Sales dwindled throughout its life cycle as buyers increasingly gravitated towards SUVs and as a result Ford elected not to introduce the fourth-generation model locally.
But will the Focus nameplate survive in one form or another? It’s too early to tell, but there are rumours of an electric model that could carry that name at some point in the future.
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