Although the Ford Focus has always been trailing behind the VW Golf, the Blue Oval's compact model had some great years. 2022 is certainly not one of them since demand in Europe through May plummeted by 28.3 percent to 27,151 units, according to data DataForce, cited by Automotive News Europe. The Saarlouis plant where it's made already has a surplus workforce, and a new report claims a further cut in production is planned.
ANE's sister magazine Automobilwoche cites works council boss Markus Thal saying output at the German factory is going to be significantly reduced after August 29. To get an idea of how bad things are for the Focus lineup, Ford has not announced any investments at the Saarlouis factory, deciding instead to invest $2 billion in its European electrification push. The Cologne plant will benefit from the funding detailed earlier this year, with the Craiova plant in Romania also preparing for the company's all-electric 2030 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 back in 1970 currently employs 6,190 people to assemble the Focus and its spicy ST derivative. Long delivery times caused by supply shortages have greatly impacted sales, and I can speak from personal experience that the waiting time for an ST stretches to a whopping 12 months. The main issue stems from the lack of necessary SYNC 4 systems as these are made in war-torn Ukraine.
Since we mentioned the Golf in the beginning, VW's hatchback/wagon duo has also seen better days. DataForce has crunched the numbers and these show deliveries fell by 25.3 percent to 56,805 units. The Golf has been in the #1 spot in terms of sales for as long as we can remember, but in the first four months of the year, it was outsold by the Dacia Sandero (62,271) and Peugeot 208 (68,156).
In the same interval, sister model Skoda Octavia suffered a massive 44.7 percent decline to 33,024 cars, while the SEAT Leon didn't even make it in the top 50. Demand for the fancier Audi A3 went down by 11.9 percent to 35,350 vehicles.
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