The German-built Ford Focus ST has been upgraded with the manufacturer’s Emergency Assistance automatic emergency services calling function.
But the regular Thai-sourced Focus models will be forced to go without the potentially life-saving technology indefinitely, with Ford Australia confirming the system is currently only compatible with its European-built cars.
Emergency Assistance is a feature of Ford’s Sync voice-activated connectivity system that uses an occupant’s paired mobile phone to automatically call emergency services if sensors detect the car has been involved in a crash.
The Focus ST becomes the second model in Ford’s local line-up to get the Emergency Assistance function following its debut the new Spanish-built Kuga, which launched here in April.
Ford Australia brand communications manager Neil McDonald confirmed that the rest of the Focus range would miss out on Emergency Assistance for now because of differences in the electronic architectures of the Sync systems fitted to vehicles produced in Europe versus those made in Thailand.
He said Ford had no timeline on when the advanced safety system would be available in its Thai-built cars, suggesting the updated Fiesta, due later this year, may also miss out on the clever technology.
The next-generation Mondeo, which Ford Australia will source from Belgium, is expected to come standard with Emergency Assistance when it goes on sale in the first half of 2014.
As part of the announcement, Ford Australia confirmed the 704 customers who have already taken delivery of the Focus ST would be able to have Emergency Assistance activated on their vehicles at no cost at their Ford dealer. Ford is contacting owners by mail to organise a time to carry out the activation, which takes around 30 minutes to complete.
Ford says its engineers have spent several months testing Emergency Assistance in the Focus ST across Australia’s east coast.