2011 Ford Fiesta RS WRCEnlarge Photo
Autocar tells us that a new Ford RS is almost a certainty, but the car may not be based on the new Focus. Instead, Ford may opt to build its fastest hot hatch on a smaller global platform, namely the Ford Fiesta.
There are a few good reasons why, including the fact that the Fiesta is smaller and hence lighter. It can be had in three-door form, whereas the Focus is only available as a five-door. Like the Focus, an ST version of the Fiesta is already under development.
The Fiesta has also become a motorsport standard-bearer for Ford, with race-prepped variants competing in the World Rally Championship, the Global Rallycross Championship and even in amateur motorsports, such as the SCCA’s new B-Spec series.
The loss of former Ford SVT head Jost Capito, who was snatched up by Volkswagen to head its motorsport division, also makes a Focus RS less of a certainty. Capito was largely responsible for developing the previous Focus RS, and his departure may signal a change in direction for the next RS model.
Still, there are reasons to choose the Focus over the Fiesta. Its larger platform would make it more attractive in the United States, where subcompact cars (even fast ones) struggle to gain acceptance. A Focus RS would command a higher price tag than a Fiesta RS, translating to more profit for Ford.
The Focus could even be built with all-wheel-drive, a departure from the last version’s front-drive, Revo-knuckle layout. The key to success will be building the car to a price point to match the competition; as good as the previous Focus RS was, it was simply too expensive to offer for sale in the United States.