Ford has announced that it is to launch a new Focus RS to all customers in major markets around the world for the first time as part of their plan to deliver at least 12 new performance cars before 2020.
You may remember that the Ford RS is considered to be the ultimate performance version of the world’s best-selling global nameplate (with sales of the Focus up 8.1% in 2013 to 1,097,618 cars sold worldwide) and is merely the start of a global plan for Ford to produce and deliver more performance vehicles, parts and accessories for customers around the world –and deliver them more quickly – through a new global Ford Performance team.
Raj Nair, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development is a focused man with his eyes on the prize: “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 on the track.”
The Ford Focus RS was last introduced back in 2009, and even back then was considered to have a fine pedigree of driving excellence which dates back to the first Ford RS in 1968 and, Mr Nair says: “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 every day driving.”
More details on the new arrival will be forthcoming later in the year, but Ford see the development of vehicles such as Focus RS as a pivotal part of their plan to deliver the company’s One Ford plan for profitable growth, product excellence and innovation in every part of its business. (This could be considered to be already taking place with sales of performance cars all around the world in growth mode as sales in Europe and the U.S. are up by 14% and 70% respectively, since 2009.)
And some of this customer attraction can certainly be attributed to the power behind the throne; in this case, Ford’s award-winning EcoBoost engine range that powers such performance vehicles as the Fiesta ST and Focus ST, with more 2 million EcoBoost engines being produced globally since launch in 2009.
“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,” Nair said. “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 is led by Dave Pericak, who has been appointed director, Global Ford Performance, and he is responsible for the Ford group that unifies Team RS, Ford SVT, and Ford Racing globally. The organisation also exists as an innovation laboratory and test-bed where unique performance vehicles, parts, accessories and customer experiences are created.
With this we are talking about being somewhere where developing innovations and technologies in aerodynamics, light-weighting, electronics, powertrain performance and fuel efficiency are produced ready to become part of Ford’s product portfolio.
But all this is not a new thing for Ford because performance (and racing) are deeply embedded in Ford’s DNA; right back to that day 113 years ago when Henry Ford won the Sweepstakes Race against Alexander Winton – then America’s greatest racer in front of the disbelieving eyes of Detroit’s business elite. Mind you; that victory did lead some of those eyes to back Henry Ford in the creation of the Ford Motor Company 18 months later.
Let’s leave the last words to Raj Nair: “Ford still races for the same reasons Henry Ford did in 1901 – to prove out our products and technologies against the very best in the world. The Ford Performance team will continue to pursue performance innovation, ensuring we can deliver even more coveted performance cars, utilities and trucks to customers around the world.”