Ford of Britain chairman and MD Andy Barratt expects the UK to remain the biggest market in the world for the new Focus RS, despite the £29,995, 350hp hot hatch now being a global Ford Performance car.
Speaking as he pulled the covers off the very first early-build production-spec car, Barrett said the UK will “without doubt take the lion’s share of production” – and confirmed that the firm already has almost 2,000 orders for the new five-door RS.
New Ford Focus RS cheaper, quicker than Honda Civic Type R
Official: Ford Focus RS to produce 350hp
The Stig drives Forza Ford Focus RS to Gamescom
“Without the UK, Ford wouldn’t have produced the Focus RS. We’re the dominant market for it – it was Britain that took two-thirds of volumes for the old five-cylinder RS, so it was much easier to make a business case for it.”
Barratt expects to sell around 4,000-4,500 new Focus RS in Britain during the car’s lifetime, and says it will be very hard to secure extra units for the UK, such is the expected global demand for the car. “We’re almost at daily production capacity already, and that’s before anyone’s seen or sat in a production-spec car.”
The Ford chairman – who was launch manager on the original Focus RS – is also expecting very strong retained values for the new car. Used market experts have already seen the car, “and we pointed out to them that secondhand examples of the old one are still selling for almost list price…
“We’re thus expecting to offer extremely competitive lease deals on the new car to entrepreneurs and small business owners keen to run a fast family hatchback.”
Britain v Australia
Focus RS product boss David Calder does, however, expect newfound competition for the new car – from another right-hand drive market, Australia.
“It’s being officially sold there [in full production volume] for the first time and the Australians are already responding very positively to it. We haven’t had to fight for right-hand drive cars before, but if enthusiasts down under start to demand more cars, we may have a battle on our hands.”
However, despite it being sold globally, Calder added that the UK will remain the spiritual heartland for the Focus RS. “RS is very much a strong ‘asset’ brand in Britain that commands a huge following.
“We’re already seeing thousands of enthusiasts putting their orders in and this fantastic early response will ensure the UK will be the key market for the new car.”