20
Jul
07

Focus Zoom

 Buyers zoom in on the Focus

Automotive News | 12:01 am, July 16, 2007


Even with gasoline prices well above $3 a gallon, the Detroit 3 are having trouble selling small cars.

With one exception, that is. The Ford Focus – on its last legs after eight years on the market – has been on a roll since fuel prices spiked this spring.

Focus sales were up 20 percent in June compared with the same month last year.

Meanwhile, all the other Detroit 3 small cars – the Chevrolet Aveo, Cobalt and HHR; the Pontiac Vibe; and the Dodge Caliber – have sputtered, just as you’d think customers would be climbing all over them.

What’s up with the Focus?

No doubt incentives help. At $2,500, Ford has had more cash on the Focus than Chevy has had on the Aveo, Cobalt or HHR or Dodge has had on the Caliber. That’s normal. The Focus is much older than the GM and Dodge models and is due to be updated this fall.


Sharper Focus

Gasoline prices spiked in the 2nd quarter, but only 1 small car from the Detroit 3 seemed to benefit. Here’s how the Detroit 3’s small cars did in June and in the quarter.

 

June sales

% change

Ford Focus

19,000

20

Chevrolet Cobalt

17,180

–36.2

Dodge Caliber

10,815

–10.6

Chevrolet HHR

8,999

–5.3

Chevrolet Aveo

5,615

–24.4

Pontiac Vibe

3,972

–14.9

 

2nd qtr. SALES

% change

Focus

56,895

5.1

Cobalt

54,488

–19.2

Caliber

32,173

–10.0

HHR

24,308

–8.9

Aveo

15,767

–12.2

Vibe

10,182

–20.5

Source: Automotive News Data Center


But the Focus seems to be attracting some of the same price-conscious buyers that have flocked to Japan’s three new minis: the Nissan Versa, Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris.

“The Focus’ transaction price is pretty low, below some smaller vehicles like Versa and Fit,” said Tom Libby, an analyst at the Power Information Network. “Ford needs to offer a Focus trim level with a very low price, since the brand does not have a subcompact entry. They, in essence, have to cover two segments – compact basic and compact conventional – with one product.”

Is Ford’s hocus pocus with the Focus simply a matter of throwing cars into daily rental fleets? Not necessarily. Ford says the Focus’ retail sales increase in June was better than its overall percentage gain.

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1 Response to “Focus Zoom”



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