The Ford Focus RS will be the first vehicle in Canada to come standard with winter tires from the factory when it goes on sale here this spring, Ford announced February 17.

The Michelin Pilot Alpin PA4 tires, mounted on 18-inch silver wheels, come as part of a factory-delivered option package for U.S. customers, but will be standard north of the border, the automaker said.

The 350-horsepower Focus RS hot hatch’s Winter Wheel & Tire Package is the first of its kind in North America, and was apparently developed with enthusiast drivers in mind.

“We started this project knowing what our RS customers really want out of their cars,” Adam Wirth, chassis supervisor, Ford Performance, said in a press release. “This tire package allows RS owners to continue spirited driving even in the snow.”

The 225/40R18 tires are narrower than the stock tire, to better cut through snow, and are smaller in diameter, so that chains can be more easily fitted if desired.

Ford Performance says it had to come up with completely new testing standards for the car, since winter tire evaluation on a production car like this had never been done before; this involved trials of different tires, in northern Michigan and in Sweden.

The winter tire package is a $1,995 option Stateside, but will come standard here in Canada when the car hits dealers spring 2016.

(Ford Performance)