Think back to the very early days of the previous decade and memories of awful mainstream rock compete with visions of the first-generation Ford Focus sedan. It was everywhere, and quite a few people has quite a few problems with theirs. By the end of the decade, however, those issues were mainly in the rear-view, as Ford was busy preparing to heap dual-clutch transmission woes onto its customers.
Now, the Focus sedan’s officially dead as the Blue Oval embarks on a nearly car-free voyage to the future. Only the faux crossover “Active” version of the next-gen 2019 Focus stands to see any customers in North America, but it’s a privilege reserved only for citizens of the United States. Canucks need not apply.
Too bad, as the next-gen Focus sedan’s a looker. Its designers aren’t exactly thrilled that so many countries have taken a pass.
According to Automotive News Europe, the newly curvaceous sedan won’t be appearing in many showrooms in the Western world, as trunks are apparently the kiss of sales death. Ford’s U.S. division clearly thinks so, and Canada feels even a butchy hatchback is too un-truck-like, never mind the sedan.
That sentiment carries over on the east side of the Atlantic, where the UK, Ford’s biggest European market, just isn’t having any of this “no liftgate” thing.
“I don’t need volumes of 10,000 to sell it,” said Helmut Reder, the Focus’ car line director, implying that Ford’s Saarlouis, Germany assembly plant’s willing and able to satisfy the world’s Focus sedan needs. But no one’s asking. Reder and Amko Leenart, Ford of Europe design chief, have jokingly pressured journalists to help them convince their home countries to hop on board the sedan train.
Ford execs on both sides of the ocean remain proud of the new model’s exterior styling, which incorporates the curves seen on the hatch without looking unnatural or ungainly. Just don’t expect to see it in the flesh.
“Progressively over time, four-doors have been withdrawn from the market,” said UK marketing head Lisa Brankin. “No one’s adding them.”
So, which remaining buyers does Ford have for the 2019 Focus sedan? Well, there’s Romania, and um, Turkey. Oh, and China, which is a bit behind the times and playing catch-up in terms of consumer preference. Who knows how long hatch-free demand will exist in that market.
[Image: Ford Motor Company]