RICK KRANZ

Focus dabbles in luxury lane; will buyers bite?

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News
Can Ford pull it off?

Keep your eyes focused on the Focus.

Ford’s compact car has been redesigned, and pricewise -- at its upper end -- is moving into Audi A3 territory.

Need proof?

A loaded 2012 Focus Titanium five-door hatchback stickers for $28,585, including transportation, with every option offered. According to calculations on the Focus Web site, that car can be purchased for $550 per month for 60 months with $2,349 down.

The base 2011 Audi A3 2.0T, without options, has a sticker price of $26,908, including destination.

Granted, this is not an apples to apples comparison when it comes to options, but there is no doubt that a loaded Focus is touching the luxury segment.

Ford hasn’t abandoned buyers on a tight budget. The base Focus S stickers for $16,995, with destination. Of course, Ford is betting most Focus buyers will check off a well equipped model and a small percentage with go for it all.

It’s an interesting marketing strategy, taking a compact into pricing areas commonly found on nicely equipped mainstream mid-sized sedans and a few low-end luxury cars.

The Focus will start trickling into dealerships late this month. We’ll be watching sales numbers and the average transaction price to see if this strategy is successful.

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