Fleet News

Focus on better residuals

Ford is expecting a significant upwards shift in residual values for its revised new Focus, which goes on sale in January.

Following months of consultation, the new Focus range has been rationalised from 107 variants to 82, with a number of lesser-selling models dropped altogether. Interior quality has been improved. LX and Ghia trim levels have been discontinued in favour of more modern Studio, Style and Titanium names.

The new, bolder, design has also countered the major criticism that the outgoing car was boring to look at.

And the firm is expecting to do less rental business with the car to protect residuals, according to Roelant de Waard, Ford of Britain chairman and managing director – a strategy it is currently employing across almost all of it models. Indeed, only 1,500 Mondeos have been out into rental fleets so far, Ford claimed.

Speaking exclusively to Fleet News, he said: “We will do rental business if there is a case for it, but we are not going to push volume for the sake of it.

“Instead, we are looking to sell a richer model mix with higher specification cars.

"It then becomes a virtuous circle: better specified cars means higher residual values, and so on.”

Mr de Waard wants to do more retail business with the new Focus but was keen to stress that Ford still sees fleet, and user-choosers, as a key area for the car.

“The success of the Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy among user- choosers has shown that our bold strategy of building cars with high quality materials and high levels of equipment is paying off.

"We no longer want to be competing purely on a price-led approach.”

The approach of more equipment, less models and more exciting styling seems to have paid off in predicted residual values for the Focus. CAP is currently suggesting that the new Focus will enjoy an uplift of up to £500 after three-years/60,000-miles over the outgoing model, while Glass’s also believes residuals will improve “significantly”.

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