Fiesta in the Market

Small cars are all the rage overseas, but I remain skeptical as to the extent of America's embrace. Two successive waves — a flurry of hatchbacks around 2007, followed by some boxier models circa 2009 — have fueled a respectable uptick in the segment's popularity, but it's still a blip on the radar. That the Fiesta is late to the game is obvious; I'm just not sure how much of a game is really going on.

That said, the waning recession could produce a permanent shift in shopping habits, and analysts point to the need to capture the all-important first-time buyer. The Fiesta has plenty of potential for just that. Throw the redesigned 2012 Focus alongside, and Ford could win big with young buyers this decade.

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