The Head Of Fast Fords On The Development Of The Nextgeneration Focus St

^^H s the director of Ford's ^^H global performance vehicles I ^^B division, Jost Capito is the ■I^^H man ultimately responsible & ^^H for the worldwide success B of the next Focus ST. We caught up with him at the Paris motor show to find out more about that car, why he loves British B-roads and what happened to his evo subscription...

How long have you been working on the new ST?

Twelve months so far, and we haven't really started doing any driving yet! First you have the design, then the financial* and the market equation and what you change from the standard car, where you need new tools, and what they cost. It's a long list. So we have a year of paperwork and then 18 months of more enjoyable work.

also test in Michigan, which has roads like the UK - wider, but still fun.

You'll test the ST in America?

Yes, it will be sold there in exactly the same tune as the European model, so we need to make sure it works in every market. Europe will take the lead, though, but the two departments, Team RS in Europe and SVT in America, have been more closely integrated for the last year, so they'll work together.

'WE DRIVE 91 Is AND 3-SERIES BMWsAND ASK WHAT MAKES THEM DESIRABLE'

Will the new four-cylinder engine sound as good as the five?

It will sound different, but it will sound as exciting. We don't need the refinement of the base engine [the 2-litre EcoBoost that is already fitted in the Mondeo and S-Max], so we can accept a little NVH [noise, vibration and harshness] and develop it to add more character.

But aren't C02 emissions of primary importance?

They're important, but not the biggest. What we are looking for and what we spent a huge amount of time on Is performance feel - so it's engine response, power, how the acceleration and deceleration is. We see a lot of turbo petrols trying to get the character of diesel with low-rev boost then constant torque, and we do not believe that gives you the exciting performance feel you want to have. It must be rewarding to rev, although you should be able to have fun with It at lower revs, too.

What's the biggest challenge you face?

To get it exactly right as we did with the last ST, with all the attributes at the same level, and then convincing the marketing people in each region that the same car is the right one for them.

Do you drive rival products?

The Golf GTI, of course, and now the Megane 250, but we have to future-proof our car, so we try to define our own philosophy for it and not just target a competitor, so we also take other vehicles. We drive 91 Is, we drive 3-series BMWs and ask what makes them desirable. It's not just because they're more expensive. You can do things right in cheaper cars and make them as much fun.

Will there be a three-door ST?

No, and I don't think we will miss it. Some people say, 'Oh, sales volumes will be lower because you don't have a three-door.' I don't think so because the car looks so sporty and there's no disadvantage in having five doors. It's more practical and I hate the long doors - you can't get out properly.

Thanks, Jost.

No problem. Can you sort out my subscription? I haven't seen evo since I moved to America.

Where do you do your testing?

Lommel [Ford's Belgian test centre] is our baseline, where we know every car inside and out, but we do lots of real-world driving. We use the Nurburgring a lot, because what is good on the Ring is good everywhere. But we also drive on British B-roads a lot, and in Wales. We know 50 per cent of European customers are in the UK and the B-roads are fun in the UK, so it's important to do testing there. But we

028 Interview: Ollie Marriage Pictures: Matt Vosper / Ford

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