Ford Motor is evaluating models of the upgraded 2020 Focus compact car on U.S. roads 18 months before the car’s production launch in China.
The 2020 Focus will be the first Chinese-built Ford to be offered in the United States.
A highly camouflaged model of the automobile was parked 1 week ago at a retail outlet in Ann Arbor, Michigan, about 40 miles (64 km) west of Ford’s Dearborn head office and engineering center. Spy professional photographers have just recently caught Focus models undergoing pre-production testing in Europe too.
In an e-mail, Ford spokesman Michael Levine stated the brand-new Focus will go into production in the second half of 2019 and feature “more technology and more space” and “a number of new Focus models.” He stated the redesigned Focus will be “internationally sourced, mainly from China.”
Ford stated last June that the next Focus for the U.S. market will come from China rather than from Mexico, as initially planned. At the time, Ford stated the shift to China, the world’s biggest market for vehicles, would save the company $500 million in tooling expenses.
By the time the next-generation model shows up next year, the present Focus will be over eight years old. In 2017’s decision to move U.S.-bound Focus production from Mexico to China indicated a change in strategy by Ford, in reaction to decreasing U.S. consumer demand for small cars in favor of more expensive and more lucrative trucks and sport utility vehicles.
It is also a sign that China could play a much bigger role in future vehicle production for North America, possibly eclipsing Mexico as a low-priced production source.