The new Ford Focus ST hot hatch arriving in showrooms now will have the choice of manual or automatic transmission, but the wagon offered in Europe is not an option.
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The Ford Focus ST wagon offered in Europe is not planned for Australia.

However, Ford Australia expects the new Focus ST hatch due in showrooms this week will broaden its appeal with the option of an automatic transmission for the first time.

Figures supplied by Ford show demand for manual versus automatic transmissions for all hot hatches sold in Australia is fairly even, at 53 per cent versus 47 per cent respectively.

Those figures include hot hatches for which a manual or an automatic is the only transmission available.

When buyers have a choice between a manual and an automatic – on the same make and model hot hatch – demand shifts strongly to 25 per cent and 75 per cent respectively.

With that in mind, Ford Australia says it is hopeful of dramatically increasing sales of the new model compared to the previous Focus ST.

To give the seven-speed automatic version the best chance of success, Ford Australia has priced it the same as the six-speed manual, from $44,690 plus on-road costs.

Regardless of how popular the automatic becomes, however, Ford Australia said it would continue to offer the manual transmission on the Focus ST as long as it was available – because it was “part of the DNA” of a hot hatch.

As for the wagon, a representative for Ford Australia told media this week: “The Focus ST is a niche performance model, and we don’t see the customer demand to justify other variants, such as the wagon or diesel powertrain.”