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Ford unveils next-gen Ford Focus

Fuel economy, improved 10 percent to 20 percent over the present model, is the most important feature in the new small car, Ford says at the Detroit auto show.

The new Ford Focus to go on sale in early 2011.
The new Ford Focus to go on sale in early 2011. Stephen Shankland/CNET

DETROIT--Small cars are in vogue, and Ford unveiled arguably its most important model in the category Monday, a redesigned Ford Focus scheduled to start shipping in North America and Europe early in 2011.

Executive Chairman Bill Ford said at the North American International Auto Show here that fuel efficiency is the single most important feature in the new model. The car will be available with a 1.6-liter or 2.0-liter direct-injection engine that improves fuel economy 10 percent to 20 percent over the current Focus, the company said; the 2.0-liter model has up to 20 more horsepower than the current 2.0-liter model.

For more views of the car, check the next-gen Ford Focus gallery.

Later in 2011, the company plans to begin building a zero-emission battery-powered model to go on sale in North America.

The new Focus, available as either a four-door or a five-door hatchback, will go into production this year. Other features include a dry-clutch six-speed automatic transmission with twin clutches; updated multilink "control blade" suspension; torque control techniques to improve traction and steering; and the MyFord control system with an 8-inch touch screen.

Disclosure: Stephen Shankland's spouse is employed by Tesla Motors.