According to reports from Autocar, Ford execs have confirmed that the next-generation Ford Focus RS will arrive in select markets by 2015.
The carmaker's halo hot hatch, the Focus RS debuted as a scrappy David in 2002 with 212 hp coming from a 2.0 liter turbocharged engine. Now, the Focus RS is a Goliath in David's clothing, expected to whip out even more power than the last generation 345 bhp Focus RS500.
Under the direction of Ford CEO Alan Mulally's "One Ford" strategy, all Ford products were developed with the intent of mass global sale. However, the niche Focus RS was excluded from the plan.
However, the new model will likely cause the board to reconsider as the European economy continues to ail while the American market remains relevant and the Asian market continues to grow month over month. What's more, Ford is also keen to add luster to the brand in order to raise Ford's profile beyond mass market vehicles.
"We've concentrated on developing cars for world markets, and you can see the result of that with the Edge and Mustang scheduled to come to Europe, and the Fiesta and Focus in the US. Our 'One Ford' policy has succeeded in pushing our mainstream products further than ever, and the next step is to provide customers with more exemplary, smaller-volume highlight products. Planning doesn't just have to be about the mainstream now; we can go to the edges again," said vice president of product development for Ford Europe Barb Samardzich.
However, Samarzdizh refrained for confirming development of the new RS. However, other sources at Ford have already confirmed development work has begun.
A main concern for the board is the imminent introduction of a Euro-bound 2014 Mustang. Ford is carefully measuring whether the launch of two performance models will cannibalize sales by inadvertently pitting two vehicles against one another. However, focus groups have shown that performance enthusiasts were divided between two very different camps.
"There's more room for more performance products across the range in the small, medium and large car segments," said Samardzich. "A whole suite of such cars is what I have in mind. I'm noting there are two different kinds of customers - one for ST products, which are fun but have an everyday usability, and another, more racing-focused customer who wants an RS-type car. Evolving both alongside Mustang is complementary; the customers for one don't necessarily want the other."
Engineers will have to heavily reengineer the Focus RS from the Focus ST for its development process. What's more, the Focus RS will actually boast more power than the European Mustang in order to ensure the hot hatch remains Ford's halo in Europe, the market where most of the RS models will be sold.