Strong demand for the Ford Focus in the U.S. has led management to boost production numbers of the car by 30% for the remainder of the year. The latest announcement reaffirms the growing shift in consumer demand towards smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles and is a trend most carmakers in the U.S. are experiencing.

In the first three months of the year, Ford sold 49,070 Focus models – an increase of 23% from the same period last year. The means the Focus now commands 7.6% of the U.S. small car market and Ford is predicting the figure may rise by the end of the year.

At the same time, falling demand for large SUVs and pickups saw sales of the heavy vehicles drop 25% compared with levels one year ago.

The increased demand for the Focus has forced Ford to up production of the Focus at its plants to 280,000 units, around 60,000 more than 2007. To accommodate the increased numbers employees at the Wayne Stamping and Assembly plant in Michigan where the Focus is built will need to work overtime and on Saturdays.