Ford unveils new Focus wagon


DETROIT — Ford on Monday announced plans to produce a wagon version of its all-new Ford Focus for Europe starting late this year, but said it’s unlikely that the vehicle will be sold in the United States — unless more consumers here embrace the traditional body style.


Ford debuted the Focus wagon at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland in a candy red color.


Frank Davis
, a Ford executive in product development, said it’s important to offer a wagon version of the Focus in Europe because about one-third of Focus buyers in Europe buy a wagon version of the car.


“”A key strength of the Ford Focus range in Europe has always been its wagon, and its popularity is second only to the five-door,””
John Fleming
, Ford of Europe Chairman and CEO said in a statement.


The Focus wagon is part of the Dearborn automaker’s plan to produce 10 new vehicles from its newly designed compact car structure in Europe and North America by 2012.


In North America, Ford plans to sell sedan and hatchback versions of the Focus starting in early 2011, as well as an electric Focus and the Ford Grand C-Max, a small minivan.


Ford is retooling its Michigan Assembly Plant to build the Focus for North America, and Davis, the executive director North American product programs, said the company’s latest flexible manufacturing process is capable of building a wagon version of the Focus.


However, he said current U.S. consumer trends are not strong enough to support a wagon.


When Ford first introduced the Focus wagon in the U.S., about 14 percent of Focus buyers purchased a wagon version. But that percentage dwindled to about 4% by 2007 when Ford stopped producing it.


“”So we will look at the consumer trends and see if it comes up, but at this time we don’t anticipate a need for it in North America,”” Davis said.