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Focus to get ‘discreet preview’

Ford dealers are being allowed to give their customers a sneak preview of the new Focus up to a month before it goes on sale.

Steve Hood, Ford GB marketing director, has told AM that many of its retailers will take delivery of their first model by mid-December, and although not permitted to display them directly in the showroom window, they may have them at the rear of the showroom for subtle viewing by customers.

Hood explains: “We don’t want them shouting about the new Focus until the January launch, but if they have them in a discreet position, perhaps covered with a sheet until a customer wants to take a look, that’s okay with me.” The official dealer launch isn’t until the weekend of January 8-9.

With the new Focus range Ford has upmarket C-segment products such as the BMW 1-series and Audi A3 in its sights, and Hood is set to market the car as “premium product quality in the volume sector”.

To that aim, the new range will introduce a range-topping Titanium specification. Hood describes it as a “techno-luxury” trim, priced slightly above the Ghia specification, which he hopes will attract younger consumers seeking high levels of equipment. An aluminium-graphite effect finish will be used in the trim, and standard equipment will include an MP3/CD stereo, part leather sports seats.

“I think it will appeal to young premium buyers, and should be very effective with company car choosers,” says Hood. “If Titanium proves effective for the Focus market we’ll see if it will become part of the wider Ford range.”

Prices of the Focus will range from £10,895 for the 1.4 Studio to £18,525 for the 2.0TDCi Titanium estate. Ford expects the five-door hatch to take 75% of sales, with the three-door and estate taking 15% and 10% respectively.

Ford has confirmed that a coupe/cabriolet will be added in the future and that the new Focus will be in the 2006 season world rally championship.

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