Ford puts its Focus on petrol
Carmaker's Irish boss says new car sales will be higher than anticipated at the beginning of the year as he introduces his latest offering, says Martin Brennan
New car sales for the year will be more buoyant than previously estimated, forecasts the chairman and managing director of Ford Ireland, Eddie Murphy.
Eddie, who is also president of the Society of the Irish Motor Industry, made his prediction that sales could jump to 110,000 this year at the launch of the new Focus, which will again be offered with petrol engine options. Earlier this year Murphy, in common with other heads of motor import companies, had spoken of 85,000 sales for 2011, but the improved start-of-year purchasing led to the recalculation.
Last year 88,000 new cars were sold with the help of the government scrappage scheme, and this year's limited scheme to June 30 is also helping to push the figures upwards with a surge in activity expected in June.
Since its introduction 12 years ago, the Focus has been the best-selling car in the country on at least six occasions. Motorists spent €2bn on the 100,000 models which were sold and the government revenue on these sales amounted to €800m. Murphy predicts 2,500 sales of the new model this year, although a major part of the high sales season is over.
Ford is offering four trim levels, with a new "Edge" level replacing the "Style" spec, which was the top seller in the runout model. The new petrol engines being introduced are the 1.6 litre 105 PSI and 1.6 litre 125 PSI, which now fall into the lower Band B rate of taxation. The annual road tax here will be €156 due to the lower C02 emissions.
Ford expects a good pick-up on the petrol options, although the main interest will still be on the 1.6 litre 95 PSI and 115 PSI diesel units which come into the Band A tax bracket with €104 annual road tax. There will also be a fuel efficient two-litre 115 PSI diesel with six-speed Powershift automatic transmission, which slots into tax band B.
All diesel models get fuel- saving Start-Stop technology, and a torque vectoring control, which greatly improves cornering, is standard on all models. Another hi-tech feature, Active City Stop, which brings the car to a halt to prevent a low-speed collision, is available for an extra €420.
Prices for the entry-level Ford start at €20,835 for the petrol model and €21,725 for the diesel, but one needs to go to the "Edge" level of trim to get air conditioning, trip and fuel computer, steering wheel controls and comfort front seats. Prices here start at €22,075 with just €500 extra for the manual diesel option.
The "Zetec" trim brings in 16" alloy wheels, fog lights, Quickclear windscreen, sports-tuned suspension, driver lumbar support, with sports-style front seats and armrest. The prices here start at €23,725 for the petrol engine with 125 PSI output and €23,425 for the 95 PSI output diesel.
The top of the range "Titanium" level, with dual-zone climate control, automatic wipers and lights and automatic speed limiter, starts at €24,875, rising to €29,825