Ford's new Focus | 

Manufacturer’s electric dream means sadly halting production of some popular models

The Ford Focus

The Ford Focus interior

The Ford Fiesta is no longer

Robbie FarrellSunday World

There was sad news from the Ford Motor Company this week with the announcement that the brand is to cull production of the iconic Fiesta, Galaxy and S-MAX by the end of next year.

The statement this week said: “At Ford in Europe, we are accelerating our efforts to go all-in on electrification with our passenger vehicles being fully electric by 2030 – and all vehicles across our Ford portfolio by 2035.

“As we get ready to transition to an electric future, we will discontinue production of S-MAX and Galaxy in Valencia, Spain in April 2023 and discontinue Fiesta production in Cologne, Germany by end of June 2023.

“We will introduce three new exciting electric passenger vehicles and four new electric commercial vehicles in Europe by 2024. We plan to sell more than 600,000 electric vehicles in the region by 2026, and the electric passenger vehicle production at the Cologne Electrification Centre will reach 1.2 million vehicles over a six-year time-frame.”

The Ford Focus interior

Personally, I will be very sad to see the Fiesta put out to pasture as it holds a very special place in my heart. Born just a year after myself in 1976, the iconic Fiesta played a big part of my childhood, ferrying me to junior football matches on both sides of the river Liffey.

I remember vividly during the 1980s, neighbours of mine, who will remain nameless or they would end up in jail, squeezing nearly half of my local football team into the back of one every Saturday morning to play a match in the schoolboy leagues.

I often laugh to myself thinking that if the said driver at the time was pulled over in this day and age with a car packed like that, how he’d probably be served with a life-long driving ban in the District Court.

Just before Ford released the statement this week I had heard rumours that the Focus was to be axed too but, thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

It would have been a strange decision really as, just a week earlier, I had been handed the keys to the updated 2022 model that took me very much by surprise.

The Ford Focus has, for many years, been one of the best-selling cars here in Ireland since it first replaced the much-loved Ford Escort back in 1998.

With big shoes to fill at the time, it was a breath of fresh air for the company and immediately made an impact with thousands of Irish buyers who remained loyal to the tried-and-trusted brand.

Thankfully, it has survived next year’s model cull and I hope that it will still have a future in some shape or form for many years to come.

The updated model is extremely impressive. In fact, my 18-year-old son, who is currently learning to drive, gave it his nod of approval – and he very seldom passes comment on my test cars – unless it’s something that only Conor McGregor can afford.

To the untrained eye, the refreshed exterior looks might go unnoticed. There’s a new honey-comb-like grille sporting the famous blue oval badge in the centre. Elsewhere, the updated Focus features new headlights and new bumpers and that’s about it.

The Ford Fiesta is no longer

The main updates are found inside the cabin where the Ford Group has introduced a new touch-screen infotainment system in all but the entry-level model and there’s a new digital instrument display.

Technology plays a big part of this 2022 update and the new touch-screen measures 13.2 inches across the centre of the dashboard.

It features Ford’s latest Sync4 operating system and, I have to say, I found it extremely user-friendly compared to touch-screens found in some of its C-segment rivals. On the road, the latest Focus unfortunately hasn’t been updated.

It would have been nice to see the introduction of a plug-in hybrid or fully-electric model on offer but that may be what Ford is referring to in this week’s statement.

Instead, the engine line-up is still offered in the shape of a 1.5-litre diesel engine with 120bhp and a selection of 1.0-litre, three-cylinder EcoBoost petrol engines with power outputs of between 125bhp and 155bhp.

My test car was fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox and the little 1-litre engine still packs a powerful punch.

Overall, I believe that there is life in the old Ford Focus yet. I’d love to see a modern take on it with an electrified version taking it to the next level. Hopefully that’s what Ford is talking about as it the brand Focus on the future.

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