Ford will put the next-generation Focus on a crash diet. Executives are working on ways to shed up to 200kg – the equivalent of transporting the average-sized family – to take the weight to around 1,100kg.
The company will achieve this by making the new model almost entirely out of aluminium alloy, instead of steel. Powertrain director Andrew Fraser told Auto Express: “If Ford is to meet the EU target of a 95g/km CO2 average across the range by 2020, we have to take up to 200kg out of the car.
“The sole way to do that is with an all-alloy construction. At the moment, only some suspension parts are made from alloy – the rest is steel.”
He said that Ford can call on the expertise of former Premier Automotive Group partner Jaguar-Land Rover, which employs an all-alloy construction in the XJ and will do in the new Range Rover, due this year.
“The move would let us have smaller engines, fuel tanks and cooling systems,” said Fraser, the expert behind Ford’s EcoBoost range of downsized turbo engines.
“I don’t think you’ll see an engine smaller than the 1.0-litre three-cylinder. But the power we get from downsized engines will increase. We have worked with [UK engineering expert] Ricardo on a modified 1.0 EcoBoost, which features a larger turbo but also an electric supercharger to improve low-rev response. This can produce up to 160bhp with very low emissions. Such engines are cheaper, and crucially lighter, than hybrids.”
Expect 80mpg and 85g/km of CO2 from a regular petrol Focus – at present, the only model to achieve that is the super-frugal 1.6-litre diesel ECOnetic. The new MkIV Focus is likely to go on sale in 2018.
Updated: This article was updated with the full details on 21 March 2012