After its first month on the market in the United States, Ford’s all-new Focus has received an astounding amount of critical acclaim. (stay tuned for our review this month). But the new C-segment vehicle is catering to a slightly different audience than the outgoing model; here’s what we’ve been able to gleam from our sources on the inside.
For starters, the new Focus is on the leading edge of a grassroots trend called “rightsizing” — defined as the shift from larger cars to smaller cars. As consumers rightsize their vehicles, they expect the same features and creature comforts in smaller vehicles as were available on their larger cars and trucks. As such, features that have been typically reserved for up-market (read: larger) vehicles are now making their way down into smaller cars to give rightsizers what they’re looking for. As you may well know, the new Focus is on the bleeding edge of this trend with SYNC, automatic parallel parking, rain sensing windshield wipers, backup camera, and keyless entry, among others.
In effect, rightsizing is driving greater demand for C-segment cars with more features, higher quality, better performance, and greater style. These customers will not sacrifice features and technology and — perhaps most importantly — are willing to pay for and can afford the increased content; this was not the case 10 or 15 years ago, marking a shift in drivers’ buying habits in the United States.
The median age of a C-segment car buyer is 42, with a median household income of $73,000. This runs contrary to the (incorrect) popular belief that high school and college grads are the primary market for C-segment vehicles. The primary purchase decisions of today’s C-car buyers are fuel economy value and cost of ownership, also known as “smart buys.”
Within the C-Car market lies a very valuable and rather interesting sub-segment called Connection Cravers. It makes up approximately 30 percent of the C-Segment car buyers and is defined by individuals who are generally younger than “regular” C-segment buyers (median age of 37 vs. 42) and have a higher median household income ($80,000 vs. $73,000). The key purchasing decision of Connection Cravers includes technology, driving dynamics, and styling.
The Motrolix Take
According to our sources close to The Blue Oval’s marketing department, the new Focus caters to both — C-Segment car buyers as well as to Connection Cravers. And with its kinetic design, high-tech features, and exceptional driving dynamics, the Focus seems to hit the nail right on the mark, wouldn’t you say?