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FOCUS RECOGNIZED BY KELLEY BLUE BOOK’S KBB.COM AS ONE OF ‘TOP TEN COOLEST NEW CARS UNDER $18,000’
- The 2008 Ford Focus was named one of the “Top Ten Coolest New Cars Under $18,000” by the editors of Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com.
- Nearly 40 percent of the Focus units sold during the past five months included SYNC. SYNC-equipped vehicles sell nearly twice as fast as those without.
- Ford is increasing Focus production for 2008 by nearly 30 percent to 245,000 units to meet customer demand
DEARBORN, Mich., April 29, 2008 – Editors of Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com today named the 2008 Ford Focus one of the “Top Ten Coolest New Cars Under $18,000.” It is the fourth consecutive year that a Ford has been recognized with the honor and the fourth year that the Focus has made the list.
“There is a combination of things that make the new Ford Focus sedan and coupe cool,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com. “The styling is cool. Focus is a good-looking car. The handling is cool. It handles more like a European car than many small cars we see here in the U.S. And, of course, we think the Ford SYNC™ technology is very cool.”
Sam De La Garza, Focus Brand Manager, says he was excited – but not surprised – to learn that Focus is among the “Top Ten Coolest New Cars Under $18,000.”
“We are honored to be recognized by Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com again this year and are thrilled that more people are discovering all the great things about the Focus,” he said. “People who drive a Focus, especially those who haven’t driven a Ford before, are impressed by its high quality, standard safety features and the smart technology available in the car.”
Nerad says more than 40 vehicles were considered for this year’s list based on pricing under $18,000 by Kelley Blue Book’s New Car Blue Book Values (what consumers are actually paying for the vehicle). The Focus came in at $14,942. The kbb.com editors used the same criteria that consumers draw on when buying a car – safety, fuel economy, interior size, comfort, technology and the fun-to-drive factor – to determine which vehicles rated a spot among the exclusive “Top Ten.”
“We use our combined knowledge of the industry, these individual vehicles and our own definitions of cool to whittle the list down to 10,” said Nerad. “Cool is one of those things that’s hard to define, but you know it when you see it.”
The newly redesigned Focus has been a hot seller since it first launched last October. Retail sales were up 35 percent in the first quarter of 2008 compared to the same period last year, and due to such strong consumer demand for the vehicle, Ford is increasing Focus production for 2008 by nearly 30 percent to 245,000 units
“I think we all underestimated just how well the car would do,” said George Pipas, Ford’s U.S. Sales Analysis Manager. “It’s far outpacing the growth in a growing small car market.”
According to Pipas, 30 percent of Focus sales so far are to customers between the ages of 16 and 35.
“These young car buyers are crucial to our future growth,” he said. “The small car market is where 50 percent of first-time buyers under the age of 30 go for their first car, so if you miss them – if they go to another franchise – the chances are those brands are going to keep those customers.”
In addition to delivering an impressive 35 miles per gallon, the all-new Focus is attracting younger buyers with a new look – both inside and out. The exterior design includes a new chrome two-bar grille, fog lamps, headlamps, tail lamps, hood, rear deck lid, fenders and doors, chrome fender appliqués and 16-inch wheel offerings.
The modern new interior includes ambient lighting that allows drivers to personalize the interior lighting of the car with seven colors to choose from, and SYNC, the hands-free voice-activated in-car communications and entertainment technology that integrates Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones and digital music players.
According to Nerad, SYNC is a big draw for the younger set. “The kind of connectivity offered with SYNC is very important to the generation that grew up on the computer, with Apple iPods and other music devices,” he said.
The 2008 Focus also offers an impressive list of safety features, such as standard six air bags – including dual-stage driver and passenger front air bags, seat-deployed side air bags for driver and front passenger and roll-fold technology side curtain rollover airbags – ABS with traction control and a tire pressure monitoring system.
“We look at both passive and active safety features when we’re compiling our list of the ‘Top Ten Coolest New Cars Under $18,000,’ ” said Nerad. “From both sides of the safety coin, the Focus is a strong performer.”
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 245,000 employees and about 100 plants worldwide, the company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.