Consumers speak; Ford quickly fixes Focus

 To some consumers, the 2008 Ford Focus shown at the Detroit auto show in January looked unfinished.

So Ford collected their feedback and made several cosmetic changes to the car’s interior and exterior in time for Job 1 in late August.

In the past, Ford has been reluctant to make late changes. But with lots of rivals for the Focus in the small-car segment, executives said they had little choice.

“It’s highly unusual,” said Beth Donovan, Ford’s product marketing manager for small and medium cars. “But we feel like we’ve got to stay ahead, … and you want to make sure you can keep it competitive.”

Last-minute cosmetic changes are not unprecedented at Ford. The automaker made similar front-end and interior tweaks to the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers just before their debut in late 2006.

Ford re-engineered and restyled the Focus for the 2008 model year, putting an early version on display at the Detroit show. The production model goes on sale later this fall.

Among the changes:

  • Mesh was added to the lower grille. Customers had said the opening on the show car looked unfinished.
  • Round fog lamps replaced the square lamps on the show car.
  • Chrome-finished interior door handles replaced black handles.
  • A bright aluminum finish on the instrument panel of a high-series Focus was softened to a satiny silver. Customers said the original finish was distracting.
  • Chrome paddles were added to register vents on the instrument panel to help customers adjust the vent slats.
  • A chrome strip was added to the gearshift knob.
  • Leather seat stitching was switched from black-on-black to white-on-black for more contrast. Customers wondered why the treatment didn’t match the reverse stitching found on leather seats in the Ford Fusion sedan and Mustang coupe, Donovan said.

Ford wouldn’t say how much the late changes cost, but Donovan stressed that proper craftsmanship is the top priority.

“When it comes to customer feedback, we’re always looking at “Can we deliver it with quality?’ ” she said. “If there are costs associated with that, certainly we’re mindful of that. But you don’t want to miss a sale.”

You may e-mail Amy Wilson at awilson@crain.com


1 Response to “Consumers speak; Ford quickly fixes Focus”

  1. October 9, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks a lot , Great

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News and Events for the Ford or Lincoln owner and enthusiast.

September 2007
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