Ford has revealed the upgraded 2022 Focus ST – and announced it will axe the rest of the small car line-up.
Starting next year the blue oval will give up chasing the Toyota Corolla and Mazda3 in the sales race and instead focus (pardon the pun) on its hot hatch. That means it will ditch the Ambiente, Trend, ST-Line, Active and Titanium models, leaving just the ST and premium ST X.
This isn't new territory for Ford, with the brand having previously dropped its Fiesta small car range, except the Fiesta ST. It also won't be a significant loss for the brand – or small car customers – because the Focus was only the eighth best-selling small car in 2020, finding just 1878 buyers compared to the 25,882 managed by the best-selling Corolla.
Ford Australia has made a series of decisions to drop models and leave segments of the market where it doesn't believe it can be profitable. It never seriously considered a replacement large car for the Falcon and quietly dropped the Mondeo. Instead it has put its efforts behind its more-popular Ranger and Everest models, while maintaining its Ford Performance range with the Focus ST, Fiesta ST, Mustang and Ranger Raptor.
The brand announced its first electric vehicle recently, the E-Transit commercial van, and has promised four more electrified models by 2024. These are expected to include hybrid versions of the Ranger and Everest, the Espace plug-in hybrid and eventually the Mustang Mach-E.
“As we focus our efforts in areas of future growth for Ford and the industry, we're freshening and expanding our line-up across performance, commercial and family vehicles, including plans for at least five new electrified vehicles by the end of 2024,” explained Andrew Birkic, president and CEO of Ford Australia.
While overall sales of small cars have declined in the past decade, interest in hot hatches has increased, which is why Ford will persist with the Focus ST. The updated model features a redesigned front end, with new honeycomb front grilles, new large side vents, new side skirts and new aerodynamically-shaped spoilers front and rear. There's also a new 18-inch alloy wheel design for the ST and 19-inch rims for the ST X.
Inside the Focus ST gets further upgrades, with new Performance seats and the new SYNC 4 infotainment system that features a 13.2-inch touchscreen.
Under the bonnet the powertrain is unchanged with the 206kW/420Nm 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine paired with either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission.
Full pricing and specifications for the new 2022 Focus ST will be announced closer to its launch next year.