The next generation Ford Focus ST will likely adopt hybrid power – and the model that is about to go on sale in Australia this week could be the last of the blue oval brand's traditional hot hatches.
The boss of Ford Performance Europe, Stefan Muenzinger, told Australian media during a video conference for the local launch of the new Ford Focus ST that he was not permitted to talk about future model programs.
However, Mr Muenzinger, indicated it was inevitable that hybrid power would come to the next generation Ford Focus ST.
When asked if future Ford hot hatches would be obliged to adopt hybrid or electric power, Mr Muenzinger said: “In Europe as you know there are significant CO2 constraints (and) legislation. Manufacturers must meet CO2 fleet consumption targets, which really puts tremendous pressure on (car manufacturers) as a fleet, to deliver on those targets. I think the answer is somewhat yes.”
Mr Muenzinger added: “If you do a fully conventional (Focus) RS type product with a CO2 above 200 grams (per kilometre), it just really really hurts you for your fleet compliance. From a business proposition perspective, it really starts to have a negative impact just simply due to CO2 and (the) penalties associated with it.”
When asked if this meant a Ford Focus ST hybrid was inevitable for the next generation due in about five or six years from now, Mr Muenzinger said: “As you can imagine there are all sorts of studies ongoing, and I can’t give you any particular timeframe here, but we are looking at things. We are looking at what would customers like and what makes sense from a business perspective … but yeah (hybrid) is under consideration, absolutely.”
Asked if the current generation Ford Focus ST and Ford Fiesta ST would be the last of the traditional hot hatch breed from the blue oval brand – before the hybrid era takes over – Mr Muenzinger said: “Could be, yeah.”
Mr Muenzinger said he “can’t really talk about successors as you can imagine, (but) from a fully conventional hot hatch perspective at least in the C (hatchback) segment … that’s why we announced we’re not going to do a conventional Focus RS … it’s tough to do a fully conventional hot hatch in that segment in Europe.”
Our first drive on Australian roads of the new Ford Focus ST goes live this Thursday at 3pm EST.