It is very likely that Ford SA will manufacture and export the next generation of one of its most popular models to Australia in 2005.

It is very likely that Ford SA will manufacture and export the next generation of one of its most popular models to Australia in 2005.

Currently, the Focus is not being built in South Africa and Ford Motor Company has not announced any plans to do so. But according to sources of the Australian e-newsletter, the announcement of the South African manufacture of Focus is imminent. The car will be built at Ford’s Silverton plant in Pretoria and exported to Australia.

Last September, Ford SA alluded to this development when it announced that it would be producing two new vehicles for export as part of a R1-billion rand investment program.

In a statement, the car was described as a “passenger vehicle with volumes of about 41 000 a year, 30 000 of which will be exported”. Exports should start in the first quarter of 2005.

South Africa’s cheap labour rates would significantly influence Ford Australia’s pricing dilemma brought on by the exchange rate for the Australian dollar against the Euro. Manufacture at the largely export-based Silverton plant could also mean that Australians would get their cars sooner.

The Focus commanded a 7,2 per cent share of the Australian small car market in 2003 with 11 502 sales. Geoff Polites, Ford Australia’s president has said he would like Focus to claim as much as 12 per cent of the segment, which in 2003 will total around 175,000 sales.

The second generation of the Focus is due to be unveiled at the 2004 Paris motor show in September and is effectively all-new as it is based on the same platform as the Mazda3 and the Volvo S40.

Original article from Car