Ford will loosen its One Ford policy, with some next-generation models set to feature more differentiation across markets.
Moray Callum, Ford's head of global design, has told Autocar that product uniformity under the One Ford policy "has peaked" and that future models will be “more tailored to each region”.
Initiated under former Ford CEO Alan Mulally, One Ford ensured that the company would develop only one model for each market segment, meaning that the days of having the Escort in Europe, and Laser in the US and Asia, or vastly different Focus models in various regions were over.
Above: Ford Laser, a very close relative of the Mazda 323.
The One Ford scheme has been widely credited for bringing the sixth-generation Mustang coupe and convertible to markets like Australia and Europe, where it has been a sell-out hit.
A less lauded product from the One Ford umbrella has been the second-generation EcoSport, which was developed with emerging markets in mind, but has received mixed reviews in more affluent parts of the world. In a CarAdvice comparison, the EcoSport finished last and was given a rating of 5.5.
Other beneficiaries of the One Ford dictum were the third-generation Focus and the current Fiesta, which were both engineered in Europe, but built and sold around the world in roughly the same configuration.
Above: Ford EcoSport.
According to Callum, the next-generation Focus sold in Europe and America will feature a greater degree of differentiation, because the Focus has more premium positioning in Europe, while in the US it's seen as an entry-level model.
Callum says that for the new Focus, versions will be "visually similar but there will be less content for the US model". This might extend to North American market Focus models being built with a less sophisticated rear suspension setup.
Ford has struggled with the Focus' profitability in the US thanks to low oil and petrol prices, and a market preference for cheaper variants.
Above: Ford Focus.
To help the car's margins, production of the next-generation North American Focus will be moved from the company's Michigan factory to a new facility in Mexico.
American sales of the Focus are down almost 13 per cent to 149,417 to the end of October.
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