In Europe, the Ford Focus is an affordable, well-engineered and stylish small car available in hatch, sedan, wagon and convertible bodystyles. The car is also available with a number of options, including dual-clutch transmissions, flex-fuel engines, a folding hard top roof (convertible models only), and a range of efficient diesel and petrol engines. Its American counterpart on the other hand has been around since the late 1990s and misses out on almost all of these goodies.

For the new model due late next year, Ford will engineer just a single car as part of its new global product development strategy. There will, however, be unique styling and specifications to suit major markets but more than 80% of the design will be common across all models.

By streamlining its engineering process Ford will be able to cut costs and bring the car to market faster. The new model is expected to be based around the C1 platform, currently found in cars like the Volvo C30 and Mazda3, and will eventually be manufactured in Europe, North America, Australia and possibly China.

Captured in these latest spy shots are several test-mules that are thought to be for the upcoming car, with both sedan and wagon variants present. The raised suspension on some of the test-mules suggests that Ford may also be planning a new MPV or soft-roader model. Adding to the speculation was the reveal of the Iosis Max MPV concept at this month’s Geneva Motor Show, which strongly hints at the design of the 2011 Ford Focus.

Engines expected for the car will rely on turbocharging for a combination of power and efficiency, with a 1.6L EcoBoost four-cylinder slated to crank out 180hp (134kW). Despite the potent output, engineers are targeting 20% better efficiency than a naturally aspirated engine of similar performance.

All this bodes well for U.S. versions of the Focus, which are scheduled to enter production at the either the Wayne plant in suburban Detroit or the Louisville plant in Kentucky late next year or early 2011.