The new 2012 Ford Focus is already under early production here in the U.S. in both sedan and hatchback form, but Ford is ramping up its three-continent, 120-market production push for the rest of the world starting with the Saarlous Assembly Plant in Germany. The punchy Focus ST variant won't enter production in Germany until early 2012, however.

We Americans will have to wait just as long--the 247-horsepower, 2.0-liter EcoBoost-powered Focus ST isn't expected to start sales until early 2012. The standard hatchback and sedan will be on sale early next year.

Next up after the German plant is St. Petersburg, Russia, which will start turning out new Focus hatches and sedans from mid-2011. The final piece in Ford's global puzzle for the Focus will be production at new plants in Chongqing, China, and Rayong, Thailand. That will complete the five-plant, three-continent, 120-market roll-out of the Focus, making it one of the most truly "global" cars on the market.

About 80 percent of the Focus's parts will be common to all cars sold around the world, with regional differences mostly accounted for by interior and powertrain differences. Non-U.S. markets will get diesel variants, for instance, and some markets will even get automatic stop-start functionality.

Though the standard Focus sedan and hatch will no doubt be interesting cars, we're waiting for the hot-hatch ST, so we still have a long year's wait ahead of us. And that's before we get to the rumored Focus RS with a hybrid powertrain and all-wheel drive.