While it was outsold by some of its competitors in the American market, Ford Focus has dethroned Toyota Corolla as the world's best-selling automobile in 2013. And with a huge demand in China and other markets in Asia, Focus is now on its way to capping off the year again being on top.
The new generation of Ford Focus is part of the company's "One Ford" global strategy, which aims to produce a handful of cars that sell pretty well around the world.
1998 - 2005: First generation Focus (MK1)
Focus debuted in the European market in 1998 to replace the Ford Escort. It seemed like a wise move for Ford as the Focus MK1 bagged the European Car of the Year Award in 1999.
As a surprise for Ford North America CEO, Jacques Nasser, the North American Focus was introduced in October 1999 for the 2000 model year. With a few revisions from the European version, this edition was offered in 3-door hatchback, 4-door sedan, and 5-door wagon. A 5-door hatchback was added to the lineup two years later.
In 2002, Ford launched its first sport model-the Ford Focus ST 170. A similar version named SVT became available in the U.S. from 2002 to 2004. It was also in 2002 when Ford produced the Focus RS Mk I, which marked the manufacturer's return to the Rallye Sport (RS), after the Escort's demise.
2005 - 2011: Second generation Focus (MK II)
The European Focus MK II made its debut at the Paris Motor Show in September 2004. It was offered as three and five-door hatchback and as an estate. The 2007-2008 versions of MK II got a facelift and featured Ford's Kinetic Design philosophy.
It was during the 2007 North American International Auto Show when the Focus MK II for the American market was launched. The hatchback and wagon variants were discontinued, so this restyled generation was sold as a two-door coupe and four-door sedan.
The MK II sport model version, Focus ST, was revealed in 2005 and was offered in three- or five-door hatchback. In Australia and New Zealand, it was marketed as the XR5 Turbo and offered in five-door hatchback variant only.
2011 - present: Third generation Focus (MK3)
As part of its "One Ford" marketing strategy, Ford decided to reunite its North American and international models by releasing its winning formula, the Ford Focus Mk3. The 2011 model, which was unveiled at the 2010 North American International Auto Show, was offered as a 5-door hatchback and 5-door estate.
In the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, Ford also unveiled the Ford Focus Electric, which is slotted to complete with the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf. A year after, the 2012 Focus ST debuted with a whooping 247 bhp from its 2.0 turbocharged ecoboost engine.
Since the introduction of MK3, Ford Focus has enjoyed remarkable sales. In fact, it became the world's best-selling car and most popular car for 2013 and with sales of about 1.1 million units, it may be well on its way to outselling Toyota Corolla once again.