Ford of Europe is once again previewing a revamped C-segment platform by introducing the MPV/minivan variant ahead of other body styles. The automaker on Friday released the first pictures of the redesigned C-Max, which will attract more interest than usual at Frankfurt later this month as its underpinnings will be used for a North American Focus line as well.

Ford said the new car takes design cues from the Iosis Max concept shown at Geneva last March; we see hints of the larger S-Max and new Fiesta in the styling though the rumoured sliding rear doors (a feature of affiliate Mazda's similar 5) have not so far appeared.

New technology will include a 1.6-litre 'EcoBoost' direct injection petrol engine and (optional) features such as semi-automatic parallel parking and blind spot detection.

The C-Max will be launched in the second half of 2010 and is the first of a new generation of global vehicles developed from the new C-segment platform, scheduled for introduction over the next several years. Ford did the same thing with the original C-Max in 2003; the redesigned Focus followed later.

This time around, the new Focus line arrives in late 2010 after an expected launch at the Detroit show in January ahead of North American build in a refurbished sport-utility vehicle assembly plant in Michigan. The current North American Focus 'skipped a generation' and, though, regularly updated, is still built on what is essentially the 'original' 1998 platform. Ford has altered body styles there over the years; dropping hatchbacks and wagons in favour of a sedan and coupe - Europe's preference is largely for hatchbacks and wagons.

"The platform used on the C-Max will provide a lot of the design cues for the Focus," Ford spokesman Mark Schrimer said.

Ford chief executive Alan Mulally has put in place a global platform strategy thinking that the automaker can shed costs and more quickly introduce a variety of new vehicles around the world by developing common bases.

This has already started with the latest Fiesta which also goes to North America next year, built in Mexico. Its platform is also expected underneath the new small car Ford will start building in India next year.