Ford’s New Focus Platform Is a Cash Saver. $4 billion in Engineering “Efficiencies.”

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Beneath the recently unveiled next-generation Ford Focus is an architecture that stands to proliferate through the Ford ranks, underpinning models as large as the Ford Edge.

While American consumers won’t see the new Focus until the latter half of 2019, well after buyers in Europe and China (where the U.S.-bound model will be built), the unnamed platform, which barely got any type of billing during the model’s reveal, stands to bring Ford’s front-drive vehicles into the third decade of the 20th century.

Speaking to Automotive News, Joe Bakaj, Ford of Europe’s head of engineering, touted the new front-drive platform as the “holy grail.” It’s the first of five planned platforms that will shape the future of the Blue Oval lineup — and one that stands to help the automaker save $4 billion in engineering “efficiencies” in the next few years.

Where will the platform appear? It’s versatile enough for vehicles as small as the Fiesta (not that Americans can expect to see another generation of that model), as well as the Escape and midsize Edge. “It’s very scalable,” said Bakaj.

The current Focus rides atop the automaker’s global C platform, which forms the basis of the Lincoln MKC, Transit Connect, and soon-to-be-completely-dead C-Max. Meanwhile, the Edge utilizes Ford’s CD4 platform, shared with the likes of the Lincoln MKX (Nautilus for 2019), MKZ, Continental, and Ford Fusion. The Chinese-market Taurus — a wholly different vehicle than the aging and endangered U.S. model, also shares this architecture.

Key to saving Ford money over the near term is the fitting of certain components (like air conditioning systems) that the shared platforms allows. Bakaj references common hard points and dimensions, like the length between the ball of the driver’s foot and the front axle, that makes this setup cost-effective.

“You won’t use every module from the bottom to the top, but you’d try and reuse as many modules as possible,” he said.

The other four architectures in development by Ford include a unibody, rear-drive platform — debuting with the 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator — along with a body-on-frame truck/SUV platform, unibody van, and electric vehicle.

[Image: Ford Europe]