While the Ford Focus has always trailed behind the VW Golf, the compact Blue Oval model has had some great years. 2022 is certainly not one of them as demand in Europe through May plunged 28.3 percent to 27,151 units, according to DataForce data, cited by European Automotive News. The Saarlouis factory where it is made already has surplus labor, and a new report claims further cuts in production are planned.
owned by ANE sister magazine Automobilwoche citing work council boss Markus Thal as saying production at German factories will reduce significantly after August 29. To get an idea of how bad things are for the Focus lineup, Ford hasn’t announced any investment in the Saarlouis plant, instead deciding to invest $2 billion in a European electrification push. The Cologne plant will benefit from funding detailed earlier this year, with the Craiova plant in Romania also preparing the company’s 2030 all-electric passenger car portfolio on the Old Continent.
Automobilwoche reports the future of the Saarlouis assembly plant will be decided before the end of the month. According to Ford’s corporate website, the 296-acre facility founded in 1970 currently employs 6,190 people to assemble the Focus and its spicy ST derivatives. The long delivery times caused by the shortage of supply have greatly affected sales, and I can speak from personal experience that the lead time for the ST stretches to 12 months. The main problem stems from the lack of the necessary SYNC 4 system as this was made in war torn Ukraine.
Since we mentioned the Golf at the start, the VW hatchback/wagon duo have had better days too. DataForce has crunched the numbers and it shows shipments fell 25.3 percent to 56,805 units. The Golf has been at #1 in terms of sales for as long as we can remember, but in the first four months of the year it was beaten by the Dacia Sandero (62,271) and the Peugeot 208 (68,156).
In the same interval, Skoda’s sister model Octavia saw a massive 44.7 percent drop to 33,024 cars, while the SEAT Leon didn’t even make the top 50. Demand for the more luxurious Audi A3 fell 11.9 percent to 35,350 vehicles.