The current fourth generation Ford Focus will be the latest iteration Dearborn will manufacture in Europe, following confirmation that production will come to an end in 2025.
Unveiled four years ago before being afforded a mid-life facelift in October last year, the Blue Oval’s once staple model has seen its share of the European C-segment tumble in recent years, with sales last year of 51 247 representing a massive 41% decline.
While still branded an important model at the time of the update, Ford of Europe’s President, Stuart Rowley, announced earlier this week that the Focus will go the way of the Mondeo and become obsolete after said year.
According to Automotive News Europe, Rowley stopped short of divulging any further details of a likely replacement, or indeed the future of the Saarlouis Plant in Germany that has been producing cars since 1970, starting with the model the Focus replaced in 1998, the Escort.
Currently the only facility that produces the Focus for Europe, the plant previously produced the Fiesta, Kuga and Capri, before shifting its attention entirely to the Focus following the dropping of the C-Max MPV five years ago.
“We are seeking other alternative opportunities for vehicle production at Saarlouis, including other manufacturers. We do not have in our planning cycle an additional model that goes into Saarlouis,” Rowley was quoted as saying.
Earlier this month, the publication reported that production of the Focus would be reduced significantly after 29 August, in a move threatening the lives of Saarlouis’ near-on 4 000 employees.
The recipient of a €600-million investment in 2017 to produce the fourth generation Focus, the mentioned downturn comes on the back of not only supply chain shortages, but also a lack of demand.
According to European automotive analytics firm, Dataforce, only 27 151 Focuses founded homes across the Old Continent between January and April this year, representing a 28% decrease from the 37 845 sold in 2021.
With emphasis now likely being placed on the Valencia Plant in Spain and the Cologne assembly plant that will build a reported new electric SUV based on Volkswagen’s MEB platform as per the joint venture signed two years ago, chances are that demand won’t spike again anytime soon.
The Focus’ imminent departure, though not expected to impact China, is however set to filter through to other markets, including Australia, which sells not only the standard model, but also the Focus ST.
Since the fourth generation Focus never made it to South Africa, the gradual decline is not expected to impact local operations at any stage.