The Ford Focus RS is too cheap

Here are some interesting facts: the German built Ford Focus RS costs just over €40,000 in Europe, £29,990 in the UK and about US$37,000 in the United States. Convert that at today’s (fast-sinking) Australian dollar exchange rate and that’s roughly $62,000, $61,000 and $53,000 respectively.
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How much do we pay for the car locally? $50,990.

So… that means people buying the Focus RS in Germany are paying $10,000 more for it than we are - and it’s built there! Sweet, sweet revenge at last. We have been waiting for a moment like this for decades.

Better still, there are almost 4000 orders for the car in Europe already and it hasn't even gone on sale yet. So Ford really didn’t need to price it lower locally - but it did, because that’s what a smart business does.

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Now, before you rush down to the comments section to remind me that the top-sec Ford Everest costs more than a Ferrari, I agree - that is an odd pricing strategy for the Thailand-sourced SUV compared to how the blue oval has priced both Mustang and Focus RS.

It almost seems as though its deal with Ford's Thai plant is not as favourable as the cars it sources from Europe or North America.

Even so, the pricing strategy for this car is remarkably smart. You see, this car is a game changer for the blue oval. The Focus RS - along with the Mustang - will do what no other car has done for Ford's brand perception to date, making a hero out of a maker of relatively uninspiring or otherwise expensive cars. This company now makes near-supercar-killers for about $55,000 on road (the overseas prices did not include on-road costs).

It’s exactly what Ford needs this year as it phases out the Falcon and its related performance variants and brings in the Mustang and the Focus RS. It’s almost as though you can forgive the brand for shutting down local production. Almost.

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To give you some more comparative pricing: the Porsche 911 Turbo costs $152,095 US dollars in the USA - about $220,000 AUD. What does it cost locally? $366,100. Of course, there’s about $70,000 of luxury car tax in there, but even still, the price difference is relatively high. Both cars are made in Germany also.

But it’s not just Porsche as Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and pretty much most other European manufacturers (Volkswagen excluded as the Golf R pricing is relatively similar to the USD) tend to have their performance models cost a reasonable amount more locally than in other markets.

Take the new BMW M4 Coupe as another example: it recently had its price cut to $149,990 locally. That includes about $20,000 of LCT, but even so, it’s US$64,000 ($92,000 AUD) in America. The Jaguar F-Type starts at $65,000 USD. Locally? About $120,000.

The point isn’t that the other manufacturers are ripping you off, because they are not. The cost of bringing a car into Australia is significantly higher than markets such as the USA, as the homologation rules are harder and the shipping costs higher. Not to mention that most high-end luxury performance cars coming to Australia are far better equipped than their US or European equivalents.

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The point is that Ford Australia had the opportunity to ask more of its customers for the Ford Focus RS - there’s already reports from dealers that the wait list is getting close to 10 months before the car is even launched mid to late this year - but it chose not to.

Of course, the company can have a change of heart and do what it did with the Mustang and jack up the prices post-launch, after it has received all the good publicity - especially considering that the demand will absolutely strip supply for both cars. But here’s hoping it doesn’t.

This is similar to what Toyota did when it launched the 86, priced from $29,990. No one believed it possible, but Toyota did it and look how successful that has been? The 86 now seems almost as common as a Corolla. Unfortunately for Ford, the Focus RS will be heavily restricted in supply as global demand appears to be off the charts.

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Ford Australia certainly gets a lot of criticism for the way it has handled the demise of the Falcon and the way it goes about marketing itself, but here’s some valid praise on the Focus RS and its pricing: not only is the car utterly amazing (read the review), but it’s priced so sharply that it will likely force other manufacturers to better compete.

The winner here? You. So even if you don’t end up buying a Focus RS (though you really should, if you’re looking in that segment), you can thank Ford for setting a new benchmark in pricing.