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The company is allegedly worried the performance hatchback will cannibalize Mustang sales in the US market.

Ford is reportedly backing away from plans to launch a new Focus RS500 to slot above the popular RS.Spy shots of a modified RS surfaced earlier this year, hinting at development progress for the rumored RS500 revival, however Ford insiders now tell Autocar the project could be killed.

An RS500 would presumably need to offer a noticeable power increase over the basic RS' 350 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. The company is said to be wary of cannibalizing sales of the Mustang GT, which delivers 435 ponies, and to a lesser extent the 526-horsepower Shelby GT350.

"It could be treading on other cars' toes," one unnamed source said.

The report suggests Ford is considering a less hardcore special edition for the European market.

US buyers are expected to be offered a Ford-certified tuning kit, likely mirroring Mountune's tweaks that bring an extra 20 horsepower and 26 lb-ft of torque for the Euro-spec RS.