Don't wait, take this jewel and build a convertible version!
Shall I argue the points? Of course I will.
So far you and many manufacturers have followed the lead of the Asian producers in this category. They use these small cars in Japan and have adapted to that lifestyle.
BUT, THIS IS AMERICA!
If an American needs better mileage to commute and is giving up performance and space (which we L-O-V-E); you must provide something to balance this. A sporty hybrid is really out of the question, but providing convertibles in this category will seal the deal.
Don't worry about giving up the rear space.
Simple reality is if you provide back seats with minimal leg room, consumers will adapt with packages into the back seat as they catch some rays and show off their sunglasses.
Hope this helps!
I'm a proud owner of Ford stock - started buying it when I heard Ford wouldn't take government bailout money.
A close friend just purchased a Prius V, he didn't even know of your plans and this vehicle. The Prius feels and looks like you could break it. THIS car (with a real shifter) with its options is spot-on and has the promise to sell and get our stock up to $20 with US jobs!
Of course I have many more ideas. I owned a Mustang at age 16. Just look at the unique styling of the 1968 - use that to lead this category - hell, performance with most Mustangs wasn't what sold them. Style was (and is) to this day.
Best of luck,
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