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 time 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.

Ford will now increase production in order to build a total of 245,000 Focus vehicles all up this year, up from just 191,000 in 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.

Popularity of the car has been on a steady rise since its facelift last year and J.D. Power sales data show that 30% of buyers are 16 to 35 years old - up from 26% of 2007 Focus buyers. Quality has also improved 13% over last year and the car is available with a number of premium options including Ford's Sync multimedia system.

This will be the last Focus model unique to North America as the next-generation model will be based on a new global version based on Ford’s C1 platform.