The new-generation Ford Focus RS forwent an automatic or dual-clutch transmission to keep weight down on the front axle, but there’s still a possibility a self-shifting unit will make an appearance in the future.
Speaking to CarAdvice at the launch of the 2016 Ford Focus RS, Tyrone Johnson, the head of engineering and vehicle manager at Ford Performance, said costs were not the only reason the new Focus RS is available with a six-speed manual transmission only.
“No [it’s not just a cost issue], we looked at automatic transmissions also and dual-clutch transmissions and stuff. Well, I say no but one of the things this car has to be also is still affordable, it has to be a car that people could afford and a DCT does cost a lot of money and that does factor in to it.
But for me, it’s two things, one of the reasons the whole car is laid out the way it is, is because we wanted to minimise understeer and the dual clutch transmission is weight on the front axle and weight there means more understeer and plus DCTs are typically and relatively slow to react and we didn’t want that either.”
According to Johnson the manual gearbox presented the best option for the Ford Focus RS to meets its requirements of being an affordable and fun AWD but he refused to rule out an automatic transmission for the current-generation.
“There are arguments for and arguments against, once you get going DCTs are obviously quick in terms of shift times but the other advantages [of a manual] kind of override the other arguments.”
It comes down to Ford being able to produce a solid business case for a Ford Focus RS automatic.
“Everything we do is a business case, we don’t do any products that lose money or break even. It’s all about investment and return on investment. If it makes money, if there’s a business case, I am sure the people responsible for it are discussing it.”
Should Ford make the Focus RS available with a dual clutch transmission?