SPOTTED ON THE AUTOBAHN: Spy photographers spotted a prototype Focus RS with camouflaged exhausts (inset) on Germany’s autobahn. Ford’s RS-badged Focus could make its debut in 2016. Image: Automedia
• Ford to launch next-gen Focus RS
• Focus RS to be sold globally
• 12 new performance vehicles
PRETORIA, Gauteng – Ford has confirmed it will launch a new Focus RS – the top performance version of its best-selling vehicle. It will also sell in major global markets for the first time.
Ford plans to launch more than a dozen new performance vehicles by 2020: "This is part of the company’s plan to deliver more performance vehicles, parts and accessories for customers around the world – more quickly – through a new global Ford Performance team."
EARNING THE RS BADGE
Ford’s vice-president for global product development, Raj Nair, said: “Ford remains committed to innovation through performance. Through our global Ford Performance team that ties together racing, performance vehicles and parts we can more quickly bring to market products and accessories that meet the needs of customers around the world on road and track.”
The previous model of the Focus RS, first launched in 1968, was introduced in 2009.
Nair said: “To earn the RS badge, the vehicle has to be a no-compromise driver’s car that can deliver exceptional performance on the track when required while providing excellent everyday driving."
PERFORMANCE CAR SALES
Ford reports that performance vehicle sales are increasing globally, with figures in Europe and the US up by 14% and 70% respectively since 2009.
Powering performance vehicles, such as its Fiesta ST and Focus ST, are Ford’s award-winning EcoBoost engines. More than two-million have been produced since their introduction in 2009.
Nair said: “EcoBoost is a strong example of how we are migrating technology and engineering across our line-up, ensuring our vehicles are fun to drive – not just our Ford Performance line-up. From our most nimble Fiesta to our hard-working full-size pickups and racing vehicles, our line-up benefits from the innovations we deliver at the track and at the limit.”
NEW GLOBAL TEAM
The new Ford Performance organisation unifies Team RS, Ford SVT and Ford Racing.
In addition to race tracks around the world, the team also will develop new vehicles and technologies at Ford’s engineering centres and at it new technical centre in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Ford Performance organisation is led by Dave Pericak, who has been appointed director, Global Ford Performance.