The big news seems not to be the debut of Ford’s all-electric 2012 Focus but its price. At $39,995 (including destination fee), it is $3,995 more than the Nissan Leaf—its real competitor—and twice the price of a gas-powered Focus, to which it looks nearly identical.
Chevrolet’s Volt is priced the same but has the range-extender gas engine. Guess which car I’d want? Both are eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit.
Ford pumps up the fact that the car will recharge in three to four hours using a 240-volt charging station (optional) and that it comes with a slew of standard equipment. The Leaf takes much longer and options out its equipment list.
Whether one would want all this stuff—MyFord Touch, rear camera, push-button start, MyKey, Bluetooth, SIRIUS satellite radio, etc., etc.—is surely questionable. Your only options are leather seats and two paint colors. “Build your car” with these two choices at the Ford site.
So, you may ask, what were they thinking? Ford’s EV was supposed to be cheaper since it was built on the existing Focus, using most of its parts. The Focus EV may be better-handling than the Leaf if Ford includes its torque vectoring control.
But otherwise, the company seems to be banking on the idea that GM used in the Cruze—include a lot of formerly optional “stuff” in the standard package. But EV buyers are a different breed, I maintain, and many would want just the base car. Opinions on forums and in comments so far are taking Ford to task for just misreading their market and/or being piggy.
Ford also seems to be banking that its name and reputation with the Focus will carry over and convince new buyers. For some, it is a better-looking car than the Leaf; for others, the Ford has the edge in its new battery technology—though they have severely compromised the usable rear hatch trunk space (above right).
I think you may well see a price war or at least some blowback from Nissan about this car. And in fact it has a good case to make.
Has Ford overpriced the Focus EV? Why so, or why not?