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Farewell, Focus and Fiesta! Ford Australia goes all in on Ranger, Mustang, SUV and van-only strategy


Ford Australia’s last remaining passenger cars, the Fiesta light hatchback and Focus small car, will be discontinued by the end of the year, leaving the Ranger, Everest, Transit, Transit Custom, Escape and Puma in the brand’s local line-up.

Of course, both versions will depart in their top-spec, sporty ST forms, with Ford Australia securing 40 examples of the Focus and an undetermined number of the Fiesta to see it out to the end of the year.

Ford Australia boss Andrew Birkic said the ongoing supply-chain issues and a shift in buyer preference to SUVs played a part in the axing of Fiesta and Focus.

“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 said.

“But with semi-conductor-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.”

To the end of July, Ford has sold just 71 examples of the Fiesta ST this year, while the Focus ST has amassed just 102 new registrations over the same period.

Discounting the niche Transit Bus on 12 sales so far this year, the Fiesta ST and Focus ST are Ford’s worst-selling models in 2022.

The Fiesta ST is currently priced at $33,490 before on-road costs, and is powered by a 147kW/320Nm 1.5-litre turbo-petrol three-cylinder engine.

Sending drive to the front wheels, the six-speed manual-only Fiesta ST competes against the Hyundai i20 N and Suzuki Swift Sport, as well as the similarly-sized but more potent Toyota GR Yaris.

The Focus ST meanwhile, is available with a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic – both priced at $47,490, while top-spec, auto-only ST-X is available for $51,990.

Fitted with a 206kW/420Nm 2.3-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine, the Focus ST lines up against other hot hatch fare including the Hyundai i30 N, Renault Megane RS, Honda Civic Type R and Toyota’s incoming GR Corolla.

Ford’s seventh-generation Fiesta never arrived in Australia in anything but ST form, landing in early 2020 after winding down of production of the Thai-built, prior-generation hatchback in more mainstream trims.

The Fiesta nameplate was first launched in Australia in 2004, but Ford fielded a light-car competitor from as far back as 1991 in the form of the Festiva.

Meanwhile, the Focus first landed Down Under in 2002, but Ford’s small-car roots can be traced back to the Escort, Laser and others all the way back to the 1920s.

The latest fourth-generation Focus however, did launch locally with sub-ST grades available from late 2018, but the Ambiente, Trend, Titanium, Active, ST-Line and wagon body style were subsequently axed in the years that followed.

Though the Fiesta ST and Focus ST were part of the brand’s Ford Performance umbrella, vehicles such as the incoming Ranger Raptor and Mustang muscle car will now carry on the torch.

Ford’s new Ranger Raptor will launch by the end of the year as the flagship to the popular Ranger line-up, while the seventh-generation Mustang will break cover next month at the North America International Motor Show.

And aside from the Ranger and Mustang, Ford Australia will still offer SUVs in the form of the Puma crossover, Escape family hauler and Everest off-roader.

The Transit van and smaller Transit Custom also form a key part of Ford Australia product portfolio going forward, with electric versions of both planned to be introduced soon to try and break Toyota’s stranglehold on the light-commercial vehicle market.

Finally, next year will see the reintroduction of the full-sized Ford F-150 to Aussie showrooms as part of a local right-hand-drive remanufacturing program with RMA Automotive Holdings.

As for popular overseas models like the Maverick, Mustang Mach-E, Bronco and Bronco Sport that could bolster Ford Australia's ranks and cater to the changing demands of buyers, the Blue Oval brand has indicated these vehicles are not on the menu for local consumption - at least, not yet.