A recent AP Wire story announced that Ford is ramping up production on the Focus for the US by 30%.

> DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. says it will increase production of its Focus small car by 30 percent this year to meet higher demand.

>Focus sales are up 23 percent through March compared with the first quarter of last year. The redesigned car is taking 7.6 percent of the U.S. small car market.

Not terribly shocking considering the increase in the price of a barrel of oil, particularly over the past few months.

From a similiar story at the New York Times.

>As drivers in the United States grudgingly adapt to higher gasoline prices, automakers seem to be taking a greater interest in building smaller cars that are more than afterthoughts to larger, more profitable models. A look at the vehicles on display at the New York auto show last month suggests that the design of scaled-down models – often called B-class cars by the industry and city cars by marketers – is improving.

And might I add it’s about time!

>Many new models are likely to arrive in the market slot between the conventional compacts and the very smallest cars, like the Smart Fortwo or Toyota’s new rival to the Smart, the iQ, which will not come to the United States. Volkswagen’s Up family of cars, a set of concepts shown in Japan and Europe but not at the New York show, offers a vision of a global small car that can be dressed up or down, as a fashion designer might say, for markets around the world. A stripped version could sell in emerging economies and a more elaborately equipped one might be offered in Europe or the United States.

As usual, some of the more interesting cars won’t be coming to the US. One can only wonder how much longer that will last.

Follow the link for a great article. If you have the time, I highly recommend reading it.

[ Small Cars Seek Appeal Beyond the Cute Factor ] NYTimes.com