Ford said on Friday its new Verve concept, due to be unveiled at Frankfurt next month, hints at its small car future.

Interpretation: We think this is pretty much a preview of the next generation European B-segment Fiesta, which will share its platform and some engines with Mazda's redesigned Demio/2, already on sale in a number of markets, including Japan. It is due in European showrooms shortly.

Ford all but confirms that in today's official release statement and photos, describing itself as "the manufacturer of the UK's best-loved small car" - ie the current third-generation Fiesta.

Ford again: "[The] Verve Concept hints at the new design direction for future compact cars and the company plans to closely gauge public reaction while their designers work behind the scenes creating [our] next supermini generation.

"With elements of the [concept] almost certain to appear in future production models, small car buyers have some exciting times ahead."

This latest concept follows the recent claimed Iosis and Iosis X, and design features of those found their way into the well-received redesigned Mondeo (launched here in Europe recently and headed for markets as diverse as Australia) and the also recently released and criticially acclaimed D-segment S-Max minivan, larger sibling of the popular C-segment Focus platform-based C-Max.

Ford of Europe executive director of design Martin Smith said: "Verve Concept demonstrates the potential of Ford's kinetic design philosophy to visualise a small car that is a chic and modern, and one that makes an individual statement for a sophisticated, fashion-aware generation."

The show car has deep magenta paint with a claimed unique tinted clear coat finish, 18-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic glass roof and B-pillarless structure to give what designers call "an elegant, coupe-like look".

Interior design was inspired by the latest mobile phones, Ford said, pointing out "sensuous curves" combined with "clever technology to create a stylish but user-friendly environment".

The Convers+ system, which allows fast and easy access to all driver-operated functions, is central to the ergonomic design. A large colour screen displays all essential information while every surrounding button and switch is made to a quality standard associated with larger, upmarket vehicles, the automaker said.

"A new generation of buyers raised with mobile electronic devices would feel right at home in this new automotive interior, one that exceeds the standards typical in the small-car segment," said chief interior designer Niko Vidakovic.