The future of Ford in Australia will look very different with two of its stalwart performance models suddenly dropped in a bombshell announcement today. Both of the company’s hot hatches – the Fiesta ST and Focus ST/ST X – will be dropped from showrooms, leaving the company without any small car offerings.
This halves the Ford Performance line-up, with only the aging Mustang and in-coming new Ranger Raptor now remaining. Ford Australia president and CEO, Andrew Birkic said a lack of supply from Europe (where the pair are built) was the main reason behind the decision. However, the timing is curious, as both models recently received model year updates in Australia.
“Both the Focus ST and Fiesta ST have been segment-defining hot hatches for Ford Australia and have put smiles on the faces of enthusiasts across the country, and we want to thank those fans for their passion,” Birkic explained.
“But with semi-conductor-related supply shortages and our focus on emerging areas of growth, we’ve made the difficult decision to call time on these iconic hot hatches in Australia. We look forward to sharing more about the next era of our performance vehicle line-up soon.”
Worryingly, Ford has been slashing models in recent years, with both the Fiesta and Focus small car range reduced to the ST models in the latest generation. These follow the failures of the Endura family SUV, EcoSport compact SUV, Mondeo sedan and, of course, the demise of the locally-manufactured Falcon and Territory.
Unsurprisingly, sales of the Fiesta and Focus have been in decline due to the restricted nature of their line-ups. The hot hatch pair have only sold 88 (Focus ST) and 60 (Fiesta ST) examples in the first half of 2022.
The “next era” Birkic referenced is likely a reference to the new, seventh-generation Mustang that’s due to be revealed in September. But beyond that, which will likely arrive later in 2023, and the new Ranger Raptor it appears Ford Performance’s future in Australia will be smaller.