Ford Focus ST is Considered a ‘Hot Hatch’

Bloomberg News - May 9, 2013

Ford’s Focus ST is tak­ing buy­ers away from oth­er automak­ers, includ­ing Volk­swa­gen and some Japan­ese automak­ers, with sales fig­ures over those expect­ed.

Find out what the Focus ST has that buy­ers want.

The Focus ST is help­ing Ford steal young, influ­en­tial buy­ers from VW and Japan­ese automak­ers. Hot hatch­es attract auto enthu­si­asts who then act as brand ambas­sadors. These young buy­ers are sought after by car­mak­ers because they have the pow­er to ele­vate a brand’s image, includ­ing main­stream mod­els, said Jeff Schus­ter, an ana­lyst with researcher LMC Auto­mo­tive in Troy, Michi­gan. Sales of Ford’s entire Focus line rose 16 per­cent last month.

“You’re talk­ing about an aspi­ra­tional vehi­cle for some­one enter­ing the mar­ket,” Schus­ter said in a tele­phone inter­view.

The Focus ST hatch­back, which churns out 252 horse­pow­er behind its hon­ey­comb-mesh trape­zoidal grille, has been run­ning at about 5 per­cent of total Focus sales, ahead of the 3 per­cent to 4 per­cent mix that the com­pa­ny expect­ed, said Amy Mar­en­tic, glob­al mar­ket­ing man­ag­er for Ford cars.

In Europe, Focus ST was the top-sell­ing hot hatch in 2012’s fourth quar­ter, beat­ing Wolfs­burg, Ger­many-based Volkswagen’s GTI, a juiced-up ver­sion of its Golf mod­el, accord­ing to R. L. Polk & Co.

Car and Driver’s Novem­ber com­par­i­son test between Focus ST and Volk­swa­gen GTI was one of the clos­est in the magazine’s his­to­ry, Sher­man said. The mar­gin of vic­to­ry was one point out of a poten­tial 240 points.

“Even though the ST is the slight­ly larg­er and heav­ier hatch, it thumps the GTI’s agili­ty with quick­er, tighter steer­ing,” the mag­a­zine said. “Con­sid­er­ing how long and how well VW has raced slot cars, that’s a colos­sal achieve­ment.”

VW isn’t rolling over. It’s boost­ing the pow­er on a new ver­sion of the GTI debut­ing in the U.S. next year, the sev­enth gen­er­a­tion of the mod­el that arrived in 1983. It will have 258 pound-feet of torque, up from 207, and 210 horse­pow­er, from 200.





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