The Ford Focus RS500 Was The Hot Hatch America Never Got

Ford is a car company that practically everyone has heard about. The automaker has a presence all over the world, and it has produced some of the most widely used models on the market, including Ford staples like the Taurus, the Bronco, and one of its ordinary everyday compact cars, the Focus. Despite the relatively long-running popularity of the Focus model, Ford made one limited-edition variant of this vehicle that never went up for sale in the U.S.

The Ford Focus RS500 made its debut in 2011 in Europe. Unlike the regular Focus, this was a souped-up variant that drove more like a sports car than a compact ride, and it came in a special matte black color. Many Focus fans liked this car, but Ford only produced it for one model year, as it was essentially a farewell to the Mk2 Focus RS model (via CarScoop). Though it's understandable why Ford would make the RS500 a limited-edition variant, it may not be very obvious why the automaker decided against bringing the model to the U.S. market.

Why the Ford Focus RS500 was never sold in the U.S.

There are many reasons why a major automaker may decide not to sell a car in a specific region — perhaps it already has a model available there that closely resembles the one in question, for example. When it comes to the Ford Focus RS500, the issue ultimately had to do with budgetary concerns, though not due to the car's price tag. Specifically, Ford would have had to put in additional work to make the RS500 variant street legal in the U.S., according to Forbes. It's not surprising the European arm of the automaker avoided that level of effort, as only 500 units of this limited-edition model were produced.

This car is known as the fiercest of all the Ford Focus models. As such, the 2011 model came in a matte black paint finish and proudly bore the "RS" badge on the front fender. This front-wheel-drive machine is powered by a 2.5 liter in-line 5-cylinder engine with 345 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque, and it sports a 6-speed manual transmission. The 2011 Ford Focus RS500 is rare for more reasons than its lack of availability in America: the 500 units were spread across 20 European countries, according to Car and Driver, with the U.K. having received the greatest proportion of them at 101 units.