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Old 08-16-2004, 06:55   #1 (permalink)
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US:Next-generation Focus for U.S. won't sit on Ford's small car global platform

Next-generation Focus for U.S. won't sit on Ford's small car global platform
AMY WILSON | Automotive News

DETROIT — Although Ford Motor Co. wants to develop more cars and trucks from global platforms, it’s making an exception for the next-generation Ford Focus.

When the re-engineered Focus is introduced to the United States in 2007, it will not share mechanicals with the C1 version of the Focus sold in Europe. Instead, Ford will save money by keeping the U.S. version on its current C170 platform, suppliers say. Ford passed on a chance to move the compact to a global platform developed in Europe for the 2005 model year. The Mazda3, European Focus, and Volvo S40 and V50 all ride on the new platform, called C1.

The higher cost of C1 parts and the risk of quality problems with a new platform explain the company’s decision to stick with a C170-based Focus.

Europe can support a higher-cost small-car platform. But in North America, the Focus is an entry-level car with much smaller profit margins.

Suppliers say Ford is worried about quality glitches after the botched launch of the current North American Focus.

Phil Martens, Ford group vice president for North America product creation, confirmed that the Focus will not use the C1 platform. “At this time, we’re not going to put C1 in North America. But over time, what you are going to see is a migration” of components, Martens said.

For example, four-cylinder engines being used for C1 models are being introduced in the North American Focus.

Martens wouldn’t comment further on the Escape, another reasonable candidate for the C1 platform. But suppliers say the next-generation Escape, probably for the 2008 model year, will continue to ride on an updated version of its current platform.
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