Questions remain over new Ford Focus RS

* Ford backtracks on no three-door version of new Focus statement * Now says, no mainstream three-door Focus, so new RS is possible * RS may be coupe, but Focus coupe-cabriolet won't be ava...

Questions remain over new Ford Focus RS

Ford unveiled the high-performance ST version of next years new Focus at the Paris motor show today but questions remain as to whether there will be an even more potent RS version of the car.

Ford has previously said there will be no three-door version of the new Focus, which seemed to rule out the possibility of a replacement for the much-loved RS.

However, Ford of Britain chairman Nigel Sharp today revised that statement to say there will be no mainstream three-door Focus, possibly opening the door to a different kind of RS maybe even a coupe. We have other avenues to consider, he said.

The Focus ST, powered by a 247bhp 2.0-litre direct-injection turbo engine, goes on sale in 2012 and will be the first performance Ford to be sold worldwide.

The Paris show car is painted in an 11-coat golden colour, which will be impossible to incorporate in the production process for the cars that will be sold to the public. However, Ford of Europe design director Martin Smith who was responsible for the dramatic looks of the ST says something similar using only four coats will be offered on showroom cars.

One bodystyle that has definitely been axed for the new Focus is the coupe-cabriolet. It isnt worth the trip, says Sharp. The current model never sold in big numbers, but the main reason it is being dropped is because Ford now wants to bring all production in-house so that it can keep a closer eye on quality. The current CC is built for Ford by an outside company.

Sharp admits that Ford has a lot of work to do to make sure that the new Focus is as good a car to own as it is expected to be to drive.

Were on a journey to change Ford, he said. We will work very hard on what we need to do to avoid discounting and bring transaction prices closer to list prices. Weve started to do that already, but we will work hard to protect resale values and change the way dealers communicate and behave. We have to emphasise that its not what weve taken off the car, but what weve put in.