Ford aims to strengthen the bottom of its Japanese model line by importing the latest European Fiesta into Japan in 2004, according to Automotive News.

Chris Theodore, vice president for advanced product creation, told the motor industry newspaper the move will give Ford "a B (compact) car in a B-car market."

Katsuhiko Satoh, president of Ford Japan, told Automotive News the plan is a switch from using rebadged Mazdas in the low end of the lineup. "This is a real European Fiesta and not sold by Mazda," Satoh reportedly said.

The Fiesta is manufactured at Ford's Cologne, Germany, small-car assembly plant and in another plant in Valencia, Spain, the paper noted.