The solution is simple, import the Fiesta from Mexico as the "entry level", vehicle, it won't sell in large numbers but could still be sold profitably at under $10k.

Then make the U.S. Focus as colse as humanly possible to it's European cousin, to the point where you could easily make a U.S. Market Focus in the German plant or make a UK Market Focus in Wayne, MI. Reduce the differences in parts and reap the savings. The Focus becomes nicer and sells well at $14k+ where it is profitable. If they wanted they could even bring the Ka to give the Koreans a run for their money. I'm well aware that there are different crash and lighting standards for the two markets but somehow I doubt it's impossible to design a bumper, signal and lighting system that meets U.S. as well as European standards & requirements.

Extra bonus, if there are supplier or other problems (like a UAW strike) then Ford could just import Foci from Europe, it wouldn't be so beholden to the UAW. Also then Ford could take advantage of surplus capacity to make the most of it's underutilized plants.

As far as the new design creating possible quality issues, if you don't try to redesign 25% of the car to save $10 per vehicle you don't have that problem. Just look at the differences between the 2000 U.S. and Europe Focus, break-away side mirrors, returnless fuel systems, non-split rear seat bottoms just to name a few. Sure these parts cost marginally less to make per unit compared to their European counterparts (no pun intended) but there was the cost to design, and in the case of the fuel pump & seat bottom, redesign & recall the parts. Ford probably didn't save jack squat in the long run especially since the recalls of these "cheapened" parts are what hurt the Focus' reputation and sales.

Ford cheapened the Focus further in 2002, removing things like the underhood fire blanket (removing safety features is usually not a good idea) and replacing fabric sun visors with cheap vinyl ones. At the same time they took the time & expense to design a new air bag cover for the steering wheel that enlarged the Ford logo by 4 or 5 times. Probably not an exspensive design but there was no point to it.

Then look at the 2005 Focus, with an interior that rivals my old Geo Metro in utter cheapness of the plastics (how much did you save by contracting the dash out to Fisher-Price?), a new super-bland front end and reduction in NVH materials that make it as loud inside even though it has a newer, much smoother engine, and oh yeah for a sizable percentage of the country (as far as total cars sold) a horsepower udecrease/u of 13Hp. Moving if from near the top of it's class to near the bottom for key markets like California & New York. If this car sells in any sort of quantity to people under 45 I'll be simply amazed, though no doubt your typical card carrying AARP member will think it's ideal for driving at 25Mph to Country Kitchen Buffet.

News flash, re-aligning your small car strategy to "focus" (pun intended) on the fixed income market isn't a good long-term plan, people still die after all.