Despite not being official, we've known for some time that Ford CEO Alan Mulally wants to increase the number of platforms shared by its U.S. and European divisions. It's something Ford fanboys have been demanding for some time, and yesterday Mulally officially confirmed that the next-gen Focus and Fusion would be global vehicles, sharing platforms with their counterparts across the pond. This will be in addition to the B-class car that's coming in the form of the new European Fiesta small car that will slot below the Focus in Ford's U.S. lineup.

The amount of overlap between Ford in the U.S. and Ford of Europe was one of the first things that surprised Mulally when he arrived at Ford exactly one year ago. He's quickly set about fixing the redundancy, but we won't likely see the fruits of his labor until 2010 or 2011 when the next Focus is expected to debut for both markets.

Ford execs have said that these cars will wear different styling and be tuned differently, but we've heard from inside the Blue Oval that a conflict between U.S. and Euro designers is growing, with the former group upset that its delicate balance of three-bar grilles will be upset by the Fiesta, and possibly other models, arriving with FoE's "Kinetic Design" theme.

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]