What’s the fuss? This is without doubt the biggest launch that Ford Motor Company has done for decades. To give an idea, it will morph into Kuga, C-Max, Mondeo replacement, S-Max replacement and three brand new SUV segment vehicles. It is literally pivotal. Focus4 has weight saving and aerodynamics are the lead features, saving up to 80kg compared to Focus3. This is how the weight saving builds:
– 33kg from the suspension and brakes, but use of fully optimised material distribution on the uprights and links compared to the previous ‘solid’ forms.
– 25kg from the body structure. Here the main difference is the addition of press hardened steel into the lower A pillar, C pillar and cant rail reinforcements – Focus3 has press hardened steel alloy B pillar reinforcement along with Martensitic steel allow sill reinforcement and these material selections are carried over into Focus 4.
– 17kg from the seats and interior trim, again by optimising processes and material selections.
– 7kg from the harness, where there are more harness types to suit vehicle equipment specification during the build process. If the options are not specified, the harness swill not support retro fitting…
– 6kg from optimising engine block material distribution.
Aerodynamics include air curtain bleed from a duct in the front bumper over the front wheels (many OEMs have done this for some time) along with multi plane deflectors around the front wheel and full underside cladding. The rear end features air attachment spoilers to reduce turbulence. The upshot is a reduction in Cd to 0.273 – CdA is not published yet, which will be rather more relevant.
All Focus4 models have lane keeping, lane departure warning and autonomous braking fitted as standard. A software upgrade permits speed adaption via road sign recognition, and adaptive cruise control. Blind spot alert and automated braking with a reversing camera are available as options but standard on the top Vignale trim line, and the LED headlights are also only standard on Vignale trim line. Then there’s Ford 360Pilot, which takes Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) to a whole new level. FordPass adds vehicle to infrastructure communication, 3G WiFi hot spot and the famous eCall – which is standard for most but not all of the range.
Focus4 will be built in Germany, China and in the USA. There are initially two body shells – a 5 door hatch and an estate – along with a high riding version of the hatch called ‘Active’, just as we saw with Fiesta B479. Overall this represents a step change in vehicle sophistication from body to electronics, and especially in terms of standard fit safety systems.
The life of a vehicle collision repairer could never be described as being dull.