Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Volvo C30, or how many versions of the new European Focus can you buy in the US without a Ford badge?

Volvo is expected to take the wraps off the new C30 3 door soon, expect to see it in the automotive press next month or so. But if you want a preview, go over to your local Mazda dealer, because this fine little car will be built on the CD-1 chassis which is shared with a wide variety of Ford Partner vehicles including the European Ford Focus, seen below. The C30 is to be about 8" shorter in length than it's S40 brother which of course it shares much with.
The Focus is an important car for Ford on a global scale, one of their biggest sellers in Europe and sold in every market Ford is active in (except North America). They even get the new version in China. The CD-1 architecture is shared with Mazda and Volvo and will even be the base for new models from Jaguar and Range Rover according to articles I've read online. Don't forget the new C70/Focus Vignale hard top convertibles built on the same chassis.
You may recall a posting I made earlier in the summer about Ford using this chassis to underpin future models in Europe instead of the CD-3 chassis, which is shared by the Mazda6/Fusion/Milan/Zephyr and other futuer models including crossover wagons from Ford and Mazda. So what do we get from Ford in North America? A "freshened" last generation Focus. Suposedly to keep costs down. I think the Focus should be an important car for Ford here, especially with fuel costs going up and a new sub Focus model based on the Euro Fiesta coming to the states in the near future.
The first CD-1 car to come to North America and selling well and competatively is the Mazda 3 which is getting rave reviews. Tough to swallow that excuse about costs when you see this.
The Volvo S40 4 door sedan, based on CD-1 chassis and available with all wheel drive and turbo I-5 making 218 hp, this and it's wagon varient are obviously the top fo the line CD-1 right now. That is until this chassis is used for a possible Freelander replacement in the future.
The Volvo safety concept vehicle which will give a glimpse of the styling for the new C30
The 4 door Focus in Europe, we need this in Diesel and Hybrid versions here in the US.
The Mazda 5 people mover/ mini mini van, which is on the Mazda 3 CD-1 chassis.
The Volvo V50 wagon, also available with all wheel drive and turbo I-5.

So why is it that the Mazda 3 can sell in the US at a profitable price, but the Focus can't?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

don't forget the upcoming MAZDASPEED3 with atleast 250 hp and awd

could be new focus svt...just a thought

MM

Big Ford Fan said...

Mazda's MazdaSpeed models are looking very appealing.

But just remember, the SVT Focus would be much cooler for one reason, the blue oval badge.

Nicholas Weaver said...

Oh, and don't forget. The Mazda 3 is CHEAPER than the US Focus, by a good $1k. So even with the inevitable ford discounting, its not like the Mazda 3 is more expensive. It's just BETTER.

Anonymous said...

Yes the Blue oval , thats what goes on the Volvo & Mazda products , right?

Hold onto that symbol it may be the only thing Ford actually makes, besides explorers and Mustangs ( but hey that uses Mazda 6 door handles)

Anonymous said...

As a Focus SVT owner in touch with the Focus tuning community I can safely say that we're ALL pissed that Ford would give everyone else but the US the swanky new Focii.

Did we get the RS? No. Diesel Focus? No. C-1 platform? Not for another three years, at least. Another SVT Focus? WHO KNOWS?!

Ford, wake up and sell us some decent compact cars!
~Yakimushi

Big Ford Fan said...

Yakimushi, I would be interested in your opinion of the Saleen N20. Do you think I'm being too hard on Saleen?

Anonymous said...

No, no, no. You see, Volvo AB buys back Volvo cars from pfhorde. To celebrate, the newly VolvoAB owned Volvo cars re-introduces the World to the all-new Volvo 240, a modern 240 with the return of an even better red engine (B20/B21/B230 etc). Who in the hell wants some dammed Volvo S80 to be sold as the Ford 500. If Ford can sell the 500, and Daimler sells the Chrysler 300, then we can have the last, best, and honest car ever made - the Volvo 240, complete with rear wheel drive, or now, haldex all wheel drive, turbo, full airbags, all the modern features and a unibody that can't be beat; better and safer, but more $ to make, then this shared chassis platform crap. Volvo cars were doing quite well for profits before Ford stole the Scandinanvian automobile jewel from Volvo AB. Oh, and Volvo AB could have charged Ford four times the price and it would not have been fair to Volvo AB. Finally, down with the SUV!!! Long live the sedan (saloon), coupe, and wagon (estate). Rear wheel drive Volvo forever.

cheers,

MacDuff.

Big Ford Fan said...

MacDuff, welcome to my little corner of the web. Obviuosly you're a devoted Volvo fan, I remember he 240 well, but unfortunately not with the enthusiasm you do. As I recall, the 240 was a sturdy and dependable car and wagon, with a good reputation for safety and dependability. But it was not much of an enthusiast's car. The styling, and for this car I have to use that term loosely, was boxy. The performance, for lack of a better term, was adequate. There was little appeal to the 240.

I believe Volvo sold to Ford to get an infusion of cash. I know that since Ford has taken ownership, things have improved, styling is now more appealing, performance much better and safety is still on par with the old Volvo. As I see it, it's been a win win situation for Volvo and Ford. Unlike what happened with GM and Saab, where Saab is now little more than a bunch of rebadged GM (Opel, GMC, Subaru) vehicles with little of their original character and now none built in Sweeden.

Anonymous said...

"Ford, wake up and sell us some decent compact cars!"
~Yakimushi

Amen! Yakimushi. The reasons I heard for keeping the Mk I Focus was for keeping the price low and that we got it 2 years later than Europe. Well, for one if Ford wants to keep the price low, it shouold introduce a smaller car to compete with the Scion xA/xB, Toyota Echo/Yaris, Honda Fit, Chevy Aveo, Kia Rio, et al. The Mazda3 is selling up like a storm and now even in its 3rd year of production, I have yet seen hardly any promotion from Mazda on the 3. On the other hand, the 2006 6 already came out with a $1500 cashback, so it's not like Mazda never runs promotion either. So what's up Ford? A model with a 6 years run is plenty long time. Time for a change I think.

On a side note, time for focus on some small car development as well. Honda is doing it with the Fit and Toyota started a whole new brand called Scion to sell a couple restyled Echo, as for GM, I see quite a few of those Aveo on the road as well, so when will we get a baby Ford?

jp said...

The image presented of the 2001 Safety Concept Car (SCC) is not. The image is of the 2004 Three-seat Concept Car (3CC).