Ford showed US-bound Focus at Detroit in January. It'll be built in Michigan
How times change. North American customers no longer clamour for monster SUVs or gas-guzzling full-size cars. The fastest growing market segment is small cars. Ford product chiefs said that Fiesta and Focus-size cars now account for almost 25% of the US market and sales are growing year on year.
Global product head Derrick Kuzak said: “Customers are voting with their wallets, they are coming out of larger vehicles and into smaller, more fuel efficient models – but they still want all the features of big cars.”
This migration has helped shaped the company’s One Ford strategy, one element of which is to use global platforms to underpin up to 10 different bodystyles and sold in all markets around the world.
Global platforms are nothing new for Ford. However its last ‘world car’ the Mondeo, never cut the mustard with North American customers - with minor revisions it became the locally built Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique and was criticised for a lack of rear seat legroom.
But the world has changed.
Kuzak said: “Customers around the world have converged in their desire for fuel efficiency although their expectations remain high. In terms of the package size Ford’s European models are now the basis for our global vehicles.
“The advantage they have is that models such as the Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo are also among the biggest in their respective segments.”
European product chief Joe Bakaj added: ”Using these models globally gives us economies of scale with means we can equip them to a very high specification which is what customers coming out of larger models tell us they want.”