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Ford's Reflex concept appears to be the banner car for a project inside Ford to reinvigorate the small-car segment. Executives have acknowledged the company plans to "seize" the small-car segment, and put an "American stamp" on it, where they say other companies have failed to do so. What does that mean, exactly? Hells if we know, but part of the plan includes an exploratory project to find new designs, for which it turned to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Students came up with a number of designs that fit Ford's "small is big" idea. Exactly none of these is likely to reflect the showroom outcome; they're just directional concepts. Still, all of it means Ford is sending coded messages to Honda, Toyota and Nissan — with their Yarises and Fits and Versas ready for market — which is, "We're late, but we're coming." Fiesta anyone?

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Ford's Reflex Concept Could Give Way to New Puma [internal]