Fiesta and Focus: Competing or Compatible?

Ford Fiesta RS WRC

Ford will likely have two winners on its hands with the 2011 Fiesta—launched four months ago and doing quite well, thank you—and the new Focus, coming early next year. The Focus is being touted as a global car, though there will be different trims for different regions.

The U.S. will get a four-door sedan and a five-door hatch, but the hot ST (250 hp), recently shown in Paris, will make its U.S. debut in 2012, along with an EV. Much detail and blah-blah here.

The ST has the auto press drooling, though frankly I’m more interested in what Ford has done with the Fiesta, shown above in World Rally Championship trim. The Fiesta RS WRC has been winning tough rallies in Britain and France; the new car promises to do even better. Fine, so what about the road car?

Ford has sold over one million Fiestas since its October 2008 introduction. Press has been almost uniformly good. The video below shows why.

Fiesta appeals to the younger crowd, and 60 percent of U.S. buyers are choosing the hatchback (so much for that myth). Because 6 out of 10 buyers are new to Ford, the company is perking up its ears, promising that the Focus marketing plan will be largely based on what has happened so successfully with the Fiesta.

Ford Focus ST concept

2012 Ford Focus ST

That’s going to mean heavy use of social media—and maybe a Focus cupholder for Red Bull and the so-called energy drinks, as was added to the Fiesta.

Another big question is whether the two cars will compete. I think there will be some crossover. The Fiesta is a very economical and accomplished city car, a little underpowered, but well put together with many upscale touches. Said one Canadian reviewer:

The interior is Volkswagen-solid with even better ergonomics, the ride is so smooth that I thought I was in a mid-level German sedan, and the noise isolation is frankly impressive.

If indeed it’s that good, there may be some cannibalism with the lower-priced Focus offerings. Focus is specifically designed to go a bit upmarket and compete with Honda, VW, and Toyota through a range of prices and cars. Whether it can live up to its hype and take on those top sellers remains, of course, to be seen.

Now what we really need is a Fiesta RS car for the road.

Can Ford make a success of two, somewhat overlapping, cars?

—jgoods

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1 Comment

  1. Ford has made a huge success of these 2 in other markets why would the US be any different it wont take long for US buyers to realize they have missed out on really good cars for years and start snapping up imports. GM have announced no Cruz hatch for US DOH.

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