Ford's just released sales figures for its hot hatches and they look promising.
Optimists will see this news as proof that America loves hot hatchbacks. However, pessimists will see it merely as a creative way to spin a decline in overall small car sales. At CarBuzz we’re glass-half-full type of people, so we’re going with the former. OK, no more burying the lede: Ford has just released sales figures for the Focus RS, Focus ST and Fiesta ST. The automaker says that industrywide, sales of non-luxury, turbocharged small hatchbacks are down 21% but that its hot hatches have seen a sales bump of 21.3% on the year.
The Ford Focus RS has accounted for 1,674 sales through September 2016 (all figures here are through the same date). The Focus ST has sold the most units at 8,249, and the Fiesta ST pulled in 3,215 sales. If you were to run the numbers as percentages then the Focus RS would account for just 1% of Focus sales, although that number is skewed as you can't break down sales by sedan or hatchback. If you lump the Focus ST into the mix then the amount of turbo’d Focuses sold through September 2016 jumps to 7%. Again, that number should be higher, but even 7% isn’t awful when you consider that Americans supposedly aren’t into hot hatchbacks. Ditto for the Fiesta ST, which makes up 8% of all Fiesta sales (sedan included).
Ford got out in front of the whole hot hatchback revival in the United States and its gamble appears to be paying off. (We know the Volkswagen Golf GTI exists but to be fair it never left the market. If anything it kept the fire hot so that Ford, Honda and others could pour gasoline on it.) The biggest payoff would be for a halo-ish model like the Focus RS to drive up sales of the normal Focus five-door, but the way the industry is moving—all small cars must be crossovers—that just doesn’t seem possible. Note that these figures aren't final either. There is still three more months for Ford to unload hot hatches. We'll check back in with the automaker at the end of the year and see where the final tally stands.