Ford’s new global design strategy so far appears to be working for the automaker, with the largely European designed and engineered Fiesta and Focus compacts doing particularly well around the globe, including in the U.S. where such cars have proven to be a hard sell in the past.   

The next globally designed model wearing a blue oval will be the new 2012 Ford Escape, which will be sold in Europe as the replacement for the Kuga and is expected to make its debut later this month at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Beyond that will be the arrival of the 2013 Ford Fusion, the first all-new Fusion since the original’s launch back in 2005, and the car that will replace the current Mondeo in Europe and form the basis of the crucial new 2013 Lincoln MKZ.

Captured here testing near one of Ford’s technical centers in Dearborn, MI, is a prototype for the 2013 Ford Fusion mid-size sedan.

The car appears to have a very high waistline and hood, which is not unlike the design seen on the 2013 Ford Taurus. It also appears to have a very coupe-like profile and wider stance than the current model.

There’s a very good reason for this. The new 2013 Ford Fusion will finally drop the aging Mazda-based platform of the current model and instead share its running gear with the European Mondeo, albeit in updated form. Drive will remain front-wheel, although all-wheel drive variants will be offered.

The good news is that the hybrid model will return, this time offering gas mileage as high as 48 mpg on the city cycle. That’s a significant improvement over the current Fusion Hybrid’s mileage, which comes in at an already impressive 36/41 mpg city/highway and 39 mpg combined.

European buyers of the new Mondeo will almost certainly be offered a similarly frugal turbodiesel option. American buyers, meanwhile, can also expect a naturally aspirated four-cylinder option as the base engine, and an efficient EcoBoost option for performance-oriented buyers.

Production is scheduled to start in January at Ford’s plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, as well as Ford’s Flat Rock assembly plant in Michigan, which has some freed up capacity after Mazda recently decided to movie production of its Mazda6 model exclusively to Japan.

Look out for the debut of the 2013 Ford Fusion in the first half of next year, with sales to start shortly after.