AUCKLAND, New Zealand — The All-New Ford Focus was only launched in New Zealand in the third quarter, but that was long enough to convince the country's leading motoring writers and commentators to judge it Car of the Year.
Voted for by more than two dozen established motoring journalists, each of whom is a member of the Motoring Writers’ Guild (MWG), the award is the country's most comprehensive.
The award is also the most respected by the car industry itself, being the embodiment of the opinions of experts representing every automotive medium. This includes the motoring sections of the country's major daily and weekly newspapers, several automotive websites, car and lifestyle magazines, and a number of radio and television outlets.
The All-New Ford Focus is the third generation of the Focus, and the first to scoop New Zealand’s highest new car automotive honour.
“Winning the Guild award has topped off a fantastic year for Ford New Zealand,” said Neale Hill, managing director, Ford New Zealand. “We’ve been fortunate to bring home several awards this year so the trophy cabinet is looking great! This award is especially important since it’s the top award in New Zealand and the Focus’ segment is the largest and most competitive in the industry. The award gives the Focus another excellent competitive edge going into 2012.”
The Motoring Writers' Guild, in making their decision, assessed a number of variants in the range, which includes 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrol variants as well as a fuel-efficient 2.0-litre turbo-diesel version.
Along with performance and handling, other considerations included safety, economy, visual appeal, value for money, ease of operation and its level of home comforts and quality of finish.
“Previous iterations of the Focus have also been highly regarded, particularly in the area of driver appeal, but in its latest guise the Focus pushes its segment forward in crucial areas such as powertrain efficiency, packaging, quality and equipment – all without compromising that fun factor for which it has become known,” said Guild president David Linklater.
“The level of chassis sophistication engineered into the new Focus is remarkable. New-generation direct-injection engines and Ford’s PowerShift dual-clutch transmission bring strong performance and outstanding economy. The petrol versions achieve an excellent 6.4 litres per 100km. The diesel is capable of 5.3 litres per 100km – incredible fuel economy for such a spacious, stylish family car."
Linklater said the win for Focus was also a tribute to the quality of Ford's model range, with three of the last four New Zealand Car of the Year winners coming from the Ford stable. The Fiesta and Falcon won in 2009 and 2008, respectively.
The Focus was one of 12 finalists for this New Zealand Car of the Year award, which was open to new passenger car models launched in New Zealand during the 12 months prior to 1 November 2011.
The win caps off a huge year for Ford New Zealand, with 10 trophies won throughout 2011, including three major victories in the AMI Insurance NZ Autocar Awards for Compact Car of the Year 2011 (Focus), SUV of the Year 2011 (Ford Ranger), and Overall Car of the Year 2011 (Ford Ranger).