Ford Focus History and Replacing Cylinder Heads

Categories: Cylinder Head Tips

The Ford Focus is a compact car that has changed greatly since its debut on the 90s European market. Uniquely sold in both hatchback and sedan versions, the Focus has drawn in a dedicated customer base for its versatility, gas efficiency, and customer-first design. See how the Focus has evolved over the years, what makes it a solid vehicle, and where it’s heading next below.


Ford Focus History

In 1995, Ford launched a bold new program in preparation for the next millennium: the Ford 2000 initiative. Ford aimed to globalize model development and sell one compact product worldwide, a bold divergence from the more standard practice among car companies of the time to develop vehicles region-by-region. This so-called “world car” would need to be highly versatile to suit many different markets’ tastes, tough to endure any climate, and engineered with the space and gas mileage considerations that would ensure utility in both densely populated urban environments and spread-out rural areas.

As part of this initiative, Ford introduced the Focus in 1998 in Europe, Asia, Oceania, and soon after to North America in 2000. The Focus was launched as a three-door hatchback, four-door sedan, and five-door wagon, with a five-door hatchback coming a year later. Its first generation was suited with a 2.0-litre turbocharged Duratec RS engine, a Quaife ATB limited-slip differential, Brembo brakes, and many more upgrades.

In 2004, the second generation Focus came onto the global market to intense success. Demand for the Focus was so high in Australia, for instance, that when shipments arrived from South Africa to distribute to Oceania, Ford New Zealand surrendered its shipments and rerouted to Australia in order to meet the market’s need.


2nd – 4th Focus Generations

The second generation was heavier, sturdier, and more attractively built than the first, with expanded legroom, a stiffer bodyshell, and improved materials that gave it a better drive and more high-quality feel. Its engine was also significantly upgraded from the first generation, offering a 1.6L Duratec Ti-VCT with variable valve timing as well as the “Tiger” Duratorq 1.6L 90hp and 110hp diesel engines.

For the third generation, Ford reunited both the international and North American versions of the Focus with a worldwide release in 2011. What makes this generation unique was the special attention to detail and customer experience while driving. Engineers donned a “Third Age Suit”, a special suit that simulates the physical limitations of an elderly person by restricting their movements. Using insight gathered from the use of this suit, designers worked to create a vehicle that many people at a range of ages or physical ability would still be able to drive comfortably.

The Focus has been considered influential in improving the average overall fuel economy of new vehicles on the market, as its sales have helped maintain lower incentive rates than many competing vehicles in its class. Some industry insiders consider it a “compliance car” for its help in bringing up corporate average fuel economy to meet federal standards.

The Focus continued to its fourth generation before ending production in the U.S. in 2018, setting its sights on the European and Asian markets. However, the Focus still finds its popularity in the rallying scene for its versatile build and is also a popular touring car due to its ability to reach high speeds with the right attention.


Ford Focus Awards and Recognitions

1999 European Car of the Year award

2019 Car of the Year in Croatia and Finland.

2018 Entrepreneurs Car of the Year award

2018 Compact Class Winner

2013 International Paul Pietsch Award


Ford Focus High Mileage Stories

The Ford Focus has been on the market for many years throughout different generations and many older models have had time to climb in miles. There are many instances of owners taking care of their Focus over the years allowing it to stay healthy and reliable even with hundreds of thousands of miles.

For example, this Reddit user boasts about their 200k mile Ford Focus. They credit it to regular maintenance and break down their maintenance schedule for others to take notes on. The vehicle enthusiast website MotorBiscuit published an article listing the Focus among the top five cars that can last at 300,000 miles and above. It stated that out of all the Focus vehicles listed for sale online, 3.74% had over 200,000 miles.



Ford Focus Sales History in USA and Canada


Year USA Canada
1999 55,896
2000 286,166
2001 264,414
2002 243,199
2003 229,353
2004 208,339 11,422
2005 184,825 26,861
2006 177,006 27,718
2007 173,213 24,013
2008 195,823 32,082
2009 160,433 21,831
2010 172,421 23,452
2011 175,717 25,736
2012 245,922 27,936
2013 234,570 25,781
2014 219,634 22,392
2015 202,478 21,101
2016 168,789 16,627
2017 158,385 11,306
2018 113,345
2019 12,480 1,528


Ford Focus Competitors in U.S. Market

There are many different compact brands on the market, and you would be hard pressed to find one that is exactly alike. The large numbers of cars from international brands makes for stiff competition. Below are the top 3 vehicles that compete (or competed) with the Ford Focus in the North America:

  • Honda Civic
  • Volkswagen Golf
  • Mazda 3

If you are shopping for a used compact car, then it’s best to do your research to see which one may be the best for you and your budget as well as lifestyle.


Importance of Cylinder Heads in a Ford Focus (or any vehicle)

Cylinder heads are an essential part of your vehicle and are what ensures your engine operates in good health. Located on top of the cylinder block on the engine, this combustion chamber can house components such as the valves, spark plugs, and fuel injectors. It also has intake and exhaust valves to let the air escape as well as holes to allow coolant from the radiator and oil to flow through to the engine.

If your cylinder head is not properly maintained or becomes cracked, then it could mean serious engine trouble for your Ford Focus. We recommend that you consult with your trusted mechanic to evaluate the health of your current cylinder heads. See the 3 minute video below for how to remove the cylinder heads on a Ford Focus.


Ford Focus XR5 ST225 Cylinder Head Removal


Here is another great Ford Focus ST Cylinder Head Video:

This video (courtesy of Valley Crew Racing) also explains why cracked heads are a common problem in older Ford Focus vehicles.


Buy Replacement Heads @ Clearwater Cylinder Head

Clearwater Cylinder Head knows exactly why cylinder heads are important.  Our employees have spent years perfecting the care, refurbishment, and replacement of cylinder heads on Ford vehicles. If you notice anything wrong with your cylinder head or need a replacement, then Clearwater Cylinder Head is happy to help to help you over the phone with our incredible product expertise and cylinder head selection.

Please call us to inquire about new heads for your Ford vehicle by calling us toll-free at 1-800-572-1963. We look forward to serving you.




FORD FOCUS Transit Connect 2.0 DOHC 2008-2011 1S7G REBUILT CYLINDER HEAD