If you’d previously thought that the Ford Focus RS’ special “Drift” mode would slip by the safety-concerned public mostly unheeded, you were mistaken; safety experts in Australia are already calling upon Ford to issue a recall and deactivate the feature, and other countries seem likely to follow suit.
According to website News.com.au, the aforementioned safety experts are “furious” that drivers of the Ford Focus RS can theoretically engage the car’s Drift mode on public roads with no impediment. Ford’s response was to point out a disclaimer which appears on the dash each time the drive mode is engaged, saying: “We believe the drift and track modes are appropriate for racetracks, and that typical Focus RS customers will understand the need to deploy these features under controlled and safe conditions such as during a track day.”
Experts are having none of it.
“A disclaimer is not going to stop an idiot from trying this on public roads,” said Mr. Harold Scruby, head of the Pedestrian Council of Australia. “We urge Ford to reconsider its decision, recall these vehicles and disable this driving mode.”
When the Ford Mustang was shipped to Australia for the first time in its 51-year history, the pony car’s burnout-enabling “LineLock” feature was disabled for that market because “any sustained loss of traction on public roads is illegal,” says National Roads and Motorists’ Association Senior Policy Manager Jack Haley. In fact, News.com.au reports that police in most states can confiscate a car and ban its driver for 6 to 12 months for engaging in burnouts, drifts, or any similar act of reckless driving.
When asked why LineLock was removed for Australian-market Mustangs while Drift mode was left intact on the new Focus RS, a Ford Australia spokesperson said simply: “We do not offer line lock because burnouts are illegal in Australia.”