The Ford Focus RS Proved That Enthusiasts Can Follow Their Word

When Ford took the wraps off of the Focus RS back in 2015, I’ve never wanted a car more badly in my life. I went nuts over the vehicle, obsessing over every review, over every little detail about the hot hatchback.

And I, clearly, wasn’t the only one, as everyone fawned over the vehicle. Production of the Focus RS is coming to an end, but it’s not a sad ending, it’s a happy one.

Enthusiasts usually speak with their mouths and not their wallets. I’m guilty as charged in that respect, too. Automakers spend a lot of time and money developing a vehicle for enthusiasts and we just don’t buy the cars. The Subaru BRZ and Scion FR-S (now known as the Toyota 86) twins are a prime example of how bad we are.

In the beginning, things were going pretty well. Good Car Bad Car reports that Subaru sold roughly 8,587 BRZ sports cars in 2013 – the first full year it was on sale in the United States. That figure, though fell to 7,504 in 2014, then to 5,296 in 2015, then to 4,141 in 2016, and finally to 4,131 in 2017. Despite the changes that Subaru and Scion/Toyota made to the sports cars, sale figures never picked back up again.

Enthusiasts who knew about the vehicle purchased one when it came out, while others were dissuaded by the lack of power. “Stick a turbo in it,” yelled enthusiasts. “Where’s the turbo?” asked others. Ironically, Jalopnik reported that there was a Catch-22 with the twins, as the automakers weren’t selling enough cars to justify spending the money to develop a more powerful model.

So, all of the enthusiasts out there that have been clamoring about a more powerful Toyota 86 or BRZ, you have no one to blame but yourselves and other enthusiasts. After seeing the poor sales figures for the twins, you start to understand why automakers don’t bring the good stuff to the U.S.

Things, though, were different for the Focus RS. Since the hot hatchback’s launch in the summer of 2016, Ford sold over 3,500 units of the hatch. Those figures may sound low, but it was actually really good for a high-performance niche vehicle. Last March, we reported that Ford was selling roughly 500 Focus RS models a month. And the average transaction price of the vehicle was incredibly high for the segment at $42,351.

For 2018, Ford aimed to celebrate the end of production for the Focus RS with a limited model that was even more expensive. With only 1,000 units of the new model year slated to be built, the automaker was ensuring that its vehicles would get picked up swiftly.

In other words, sales of the Focus RS did well – very well with all things considered. And while Ford is officially killing the model off, the fact that enthusiasts, for once, reached into their wallets to purchase the vehicle bodes well for future models. It was the first time enthusiasts in the U.S. got the Focus RS and we showed the car some love. Ford must have seen that and will, hopefully, bring the raucous variant of the upcoming model over when it comes out.

No car is perfect, and even the Focus RS suffered from its own problems. But when enthusiasts cry for a high-performance car and don’t buy it, it looks pretty bad. That, luckily, wasn’t the case with the Focus RS.

Now that production has come to an end, prices will probably raise a little bit until the automaker announces the next generation of the vehicle. Until then, the rest of us that didn’t have enough money to purchase a Focus RS brand new, which sadly includes myself, should keep an eye on eBay in case I’m wrong and prices start to drop. And when you get your hot hatch, make sure Ford knows you’re enjoying it, so it brings more RS-badged cars over to the U.S.


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  • Six_Tymes

    NO, you are wrong, and I would bet 50% more people would have bought the BRZ for example, if it had more power FROM THE START. AND, as far as the RS is concerned, the people that clamored over reviews and waited in anticipation for it, CANT AFFORD the price, ITS ALMOST 45 GRAND!!! so, sorry to say you are wrong. The only problem is, the market of people that really want/ed these cars cant afford the costs for fully loaded model, which is what “enthusiasts” want, they want all performance options available. I stand by my statement, the BRZ and FRS should have came out of the gate with a bit higher power. Manufacturers need to learn, when a performance car get years of buzz, and they decided to green light the project and build it, dont release it from the start overly priced or watered down performance. Realize your market, and who will be buying, get price points in line and offer the best possible performance you can FROM ITS LAUNCH. Another way to say the same, The BRZ and FRS disappointed worldwide from the start because of low power, you should never disappoint from the start, because when you do, you just killed your fan base, period.

  • Maticus

    I know many people who could afford that car, and for the rest of us who didn’t want to shell out that much, but still have fun we have the ST. Our group around the Kansas City area has over 500 members, and a decent percentage of them ar RS owners.

  • Shahul Usman

    The focus RS would drop if they sold it longer.. the other issue is that we want the “newest and hottest”.. and when a cars been out for a couple years without much change and a cult following, its hard to sell in following years.. even the mustang has to create new and more powerful versions every couple years… Porsche is also a good example

  • Leconte Dave

    They should have put a DCT or 10 Speed

    • SteersUright

      DCT for sure. Amazing how far behind the Americans are on properly sporting DCT’s.

    • Vassilis

      It’s a hot hatch. I’m glad they didn’t.

  • d’Aforde

    The crop of hot hatches out today are the spiritual successors of the hot hatches in the 80s. Back then, however, they cost about $13,000 to start and about $15,000 loaded. The new hot hatches have way more power and amenities that weren’t available back then, but does all of that justify the $40,000+ price tag? I agree that automakers are in bind. Someone who can afford a $40,000 car usually has a couple of kids, which means an SUV is in order. Also, Mustangs and Camaros with V8s that have the same or more power are also available for around $40,000. If manufacturers could find the Holy Grail and offer a powerful hot hatch with about 300HP for under $25,000 fully loaded, they couldn’t build them fast enough.

    • Vassilis

      How much is that adjusted for inflation?

      • Promit Roy

        $13,000 in 1980 is $41,400 today. How about that. Almost as if the price of the category has tracked inflation dead on.


  • Vassilis

    It’s a great car but you know, it isn’t as special as the first and second were. Which is weird because it has all the ingredients.

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