Sad day for enthusiasts: Ford axes hot hatches

Sad day for enthusiasts: Ford axes hot hatches

Ford has axed its popular Fiesta and Focus hot hatches as it focuses on utes and SUVs.

The brand ditched the regular Focus and Fiesta some time ago but continued to import the ST performance models in limited numbers. So far this year the pair has attracted only 183 buyers.

Ford President Andrew Birkic says the decision recognises the fact that buyer tastes have shifted in recent years. He also hinted there would be performance-car replacements in other segments.

“Both the Focus ST and Fiesta ST have been segment defining hot hatches for Ford Australia and have put smiles on the faces of enthusiasts across the country and we want to thank those fans for their passion,” he says.

“But with semiconductor-related supply shortages and our focus on emerging areas of growth, we’ve made the difficult decision to call time on these iconic hot hatches in Australia. We look forward to sharing more about the next era of our performance vehicle line-up soon,” he says.

The move comes as somewhat of a shock as the brand has just started imported updated versions of both cars.

Ford says it has secured just 40 Focus STs for the remainder of the year, but Fiesta supply is likely to be more than that. The company will also look at trying to secure more vehicles from the plant in Germany if demand warrants it.

The move continues Ford’s shift away from traditional passenger vehicles to utes and SUVs, in particular the Ranger and the Everest wagon, which is based on Ranger underpinnings.

Between them, the Ranger and Everest made up roughly 85 per cent of Ford sales this year. The percentage would have been higher but sales have tapered off as buyers waited for the new models.

The new Ranger was launched last month and the Everest will follow shortly.

A new version of the Ranger Raptor will also arrive soon. It is powered by a potent twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine putting out a V8-like 292kW of power and 583Nm of torque.

Ford will also take the covers off an all-new Mustang at the Detroit motor show next month.

“The Ford Mustang remains the country’s most popular sports car and we’re preparing for the launch of the next-generation Ranger Raptor, which sets a new performance benchmark for dual-cab utes in Australia,” Birkic says.

Both vehicles could become sound investments for those buyers who snap them up, as discontinued performance vehicles have been attracting big prices from car collectors.

Second-hand versions of the Subaru WRX STI EJ25 Final Edition, which launched last year for $62,440, are selling for between $125,000 and $170,000.

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