Ford Focus

The Ford Focus has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride for the Ford Motor Company. The Focus is a compact small family car made by Ford and sold in most Ford markets around the world. It was launched in 2000 in North America to displace the Ford Escort and the Ford Contour as Ford's compact car. Despite its radical styling by some standards on the hatchback version in particular, the car has been a sales success across the globe. This even comes after the controversial safety recalls in North America. It is particularly surprising that the Focus has sold well in the United States, for it is a place where Ford has traditionally failed to successfully sell its European models. This seemed not to be the case and the Ford Focus was the best-selling car in the world in 1999 through 2004. It was also elected Car of the Year in 1999, which is an even more prestigious award given that it is consumers who are voicing their opinions in that case. Even further, the Focus won the North American Car of the Year award for 2000. The Focus, unlike the Escort, was never offered in a panel van body style in the United States; however, a commercial Focus is available in Europe. Presently, Ford uses the Wayne Stamping & Assembly facility located in Wayne, Michigan for the manufacturing of the Focus. This plant currently builds all varieties of the car; whereas, another former facility is located in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico where the Focus was built alongside the ZX3 and the ZX5 hatchbacks prior to consolidation of production in Michigan in 2006. That transition has allowed the Mexico plant to assemble the Ford Fusion, the Mercury Milan and the Lincoln Zephyr. Since its launch in 1998 the First Generation Focus has won over 60 awards including 13 Car of the Year awards in both Europe and North America, and more recently, the best family car ever. This must certainly please Ford, although it isn't seeming to help their dire financial problems of late.