The Ford Focus RS has officially become one of the first major casualties of tighter emissions standards in Europe.
The next generation Ford Focus RS – which was about two to three years away from arriving in showrooms – has been axed because the cost of meeting more stringent emissions standards could not be justified against the limited demand for the niche performance model.
Car magazine UK broke the story overnight and was soon followed by an official statement from Ford of Europe.
“As a result of … European emissions standards, increased CO2 taxation, and the high cost of developing (a next generation Ford Focus RS) with some form of electrification for a relatively low volume of vehicles, we are not planning another RS version of the Focus,” the statement from Ford of Europe said.
“We remain committed to Ford Performance vehicles in Europe as part of our DNA with cars like the multi-award winning Focus ST and Fiesta ST as well as our Mustang and Ranger Raptor models.”
Just days ago, Ford Australia warned CarAdvice against overseas reports that the next generation Ford Focus RS was dead. A rendering by X-Tomi Design (pictured at the top of this story) shows what the new model might have looked like.
However, as Car magazine UK has since revealed: “Stacking up the business case proved impossible. The Focus RS is very much a European success story – the Focus is no longer sold in the United States, and there’s insufficient demand for a hyper-hatch in other key markets such as China.
“Performance models are also under threat from emissions regulations that compel car makers to average around 95g/km of CO2 across their entire fleets (in Europe),” the magazine wrote.
The decision to axe the Ford Focus RS leaves the Ford Focus ST (due to arrive in Australian showrooms next month) and the just-released Ford Fiesta ST as the two remaining hot hatches for the blue oval brand.
It is unclear if there will be successors to these models when the current generation cars are phased out in about five years from now, given tightening emissions standards.
As reported yesterday, Ford has had to take extraordinary measures to ensure the next generation Ford Mustang can be sold in Europe.
According to overseas reports the next Ford Mustang will be available with the option of V8 hybrid all-wheel-drive. That vehicle would likely sell in greater numbers globally than the Ford Focus RS, which is presumably why it got the go-ahead.
Car magazine UK reported that the new Ford Focus RS “should've been the moment that Ford pressed two contrasting buttons: the RS was tipped to include a 48-volt integrated starter-generator (ISG) for a gentle boost of all-electric power at low revs”.