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Detroit Auto Show: Is the 2012 Ford Focus the American Family Car of the Future?

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Ever since it was introduced there near the start of the new millennium the Ford Focus has been one of the hottest selling family hatchbacks in Europe. They are renowned for their keen driving dynamics and high quality. Europeans even got a second generation re-style where we were left with a subtle warming over of our North American variant.

So why is the European Focus so much better than the North American Focus? Well, apparently when manufacturing moved from Europe to North America there was some cost cutting and quality suffered. This can easily be seen in how many recalls the Focus had during the first few years of life here in North America.

But Ford really isn't the same company it was ten years ago. Quality really is job one there and nowhere can that be seen more clearly than in the upcoming 2012 Ford Focus that was unveiled at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. (Note: Although the Focus is being called a 2012 it should be at Ford dealerships sometime mid-2011.)

Set to be powered by a 2.0 liter 155 horsepower 4 cylinder in basic models, there is also talk of a speedier Ecoboost turbocharged variant, as well. Standard on all Focus models will be a six speed double clutch automatic that Ford promises will afford the car class leading fuel economy. Some are claiming up to 40 miles per gallon but we will have to wait until the EPA tests the car before knowing for sure.

The 2012 Focus will be available in either four door sedan or five door hatchback guise and its launch should correspond with the anticipated growth of the fuel efficient small car market in this country. Just by looking at the photos of the sexy exterior (yes, this Focus is sexy) and the well built, sporty interior it is obvious that this car is going to cause some sleepless nights at Honda, Toyota and Hyundai.

With all of the dynamics, engineering and styling in place I guess it is really up to the bean counters at Ford to ensure that no corners are cut in the manufacturing of this new Focus. American automakers have never really pulled off a world class small car before but it looks like Ford might just have a new trick up its sleeve when it finally releases the 2012 Ford Focus.

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