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Ford's New Focus RS Plan Could Change Hot Hatches Forever

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Sadly, this won't apply for America.

The Ford Focus RS is no more, at least in North America. The entire Focus lineup, in fact, will soon be a thing of the past here in the US. The closest thing you can get to the newly redesigned Focus is an Escape, which shares its platform. Eventually, the Baby Bronco will arrive but that's aimed at a totally different type of buyer. So it goes. This also quite clearly means American won't be getting the next-generation Focus ST or yet-to-be-revealed Focus RS.

But we know it's probably coming and according to an Autocar interview with Ford president Joe Hinrichs, this next Focus RS has the potential to alter the entire hot hatch segment. Although it's still a few years away, the next Focus RS may boast a secret weapon: electrification. No, it won't be an all-out EV, but Ford is keen to integrate some of its new electric technology into additional products it deems as suitable. The Focus RS appears to be one of them.

via Ford
via Ford
via Ford

"The world is changing, and we have new powertrain options," Hinrichs said. Questioned further whether hybridization is the answer, Hinrichs simply replied "electrification." He then changed the subject. Adding a powerful electric motor to an already powerful turbocharged combustion engine would certainly be something few would have a problem with. One potential downside to this is pricing. The Focus, even the Focus RS, is still an affordable vehicle and the associated electrification costs could push production prices too high. It's highly unlikely Ford would be willing to somehow absorb those added costs for what's still classified as more of a niche vehicle.

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(C)2015 lulinimages via Ford
via Ford
via Ford

The good news going forward is that battery prices are going down in general. An all-wheel drive Focus RS with electrification would definitely give the next VW Golf R a run for its money (assuming it doesn't also adopt the same strategy). However, Hinrichs added that electrification, in general, poses a problem because it must find the right buyers. "The Prius set the standard by being marketed as a different kind of vehicle," he said. "But the job now is to get consumers to see hybridization as tried and tested technology, not a science project but the vehicle they love with a more efficient powertrain."

via Ford
(C)2015 lulinimages via Ford
via Ford

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