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    Most everyone at Ford is grinning from ear-to-ear these days, as the company is enjoying profits as well as a vastly improved product portfolio and public image. Sales are up, the product pipeline is full, and market share grew last year. You can almost imagine Ford CEO Alan Mulally saying, "What, me worry?"

    The Ford Focus sedan comes in four trim flavors, S, SE, SEL and Titanium, while the five-door hatch omits the base S version. Keeping form with past economy car tradition, only the S and SE trims have been offered with a five-speed manual transmission, but that changes with the 2012 Focus: the top-drawer Titanium trim will shortly receive a manual option.

    Hyundai promotes its redesigned 2011 Elantra as a 40-mpg rated subcompact no matter how it's optioned. Meanwhile, Ford can only say, officially, that the 2012 Focus cracks the coveted 40-mpg mark when equipped with the SFE (super fuel economy) package and six-speed automatic transmission. This must upset Ford, so to prove that the Focus is a fuel-sipping hatch regardless of its options, the Blue Oval organized a media drive in Romeo, MI recently.

    We're nearly certain that robots will one day rise up and take over the planet. We've watched The Terminator enough times now to see how the scenario will play out. Thankfully, robots aren't advanced enough yet to ruin your life, but they might be smart enough to ruin your day... at least if you're a car buyer waiting to pick up a brand-new 2012 Ford Focus.

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