Even though Ford's small cars are going global, the European versions are breaking cover ahead of the North American versions. We've caught the five-door hatchback version of the 2011 Focus but not the four-door sedan that will be the bread-and-butter compact in North America (there will be no more two-door coupe). It's the same situation with the Focus-based C-Max multi-activity vehicle, which makes its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show September 15.

Ford teased the C-Max with the iosis MAX concept unveiled at the Geneva show earlier this year. It employs Martin Smith's "kinetic" design that will rule the look of virtually all global Fords from midsize on down in the coming years.

Competitors in North America will include the Mazda5 and the 2012 Chevrolet Orlando. Its entry into the U.S. market also reflects Ford's belief that the C-segment, or compact size, will overtake the C/D/midsize (Fusion) segment as the predominant car size here in the coming decade. General Motors concurs with Ford on this point.

The C-Max also marks the debut of Ford's first EcoBoost four-cylinder production engine, a turbocharged 1.6-liter direct-injection unit. Other C-Max features will include semi-automatic parallel parking (as introduced in the Ford Flex/Lincoln MKT) and a blind-spot detection system.