Ford dealers want big profits on small cars

The big demand for the moneymakers of the past -- large pickups and SUVs -- is gone. Now many dealers must rely on small fuel-efficient cars to bring home the bacon. Typically, though, small cars yield small profit margins.

That's why some Ford dealers I ran into here Saturday morning are worried that Ford won't price the new Fiesta and the redesigned Focus at a level that will line dealer's pockets.

"They've got to be sold so that dealers can make some money on them. That's our one concern: we need to be sure that the factory prices them so the dealer can make some money," says Jack Kain, owner of Jack Kain Ford in Versailles, Ky.

Ford has not announced the price of the redesigned Focus. The 2011 Fiesta will carry a base price of $13,995, including shipping, for the four-door sedan when it goes on sale in the summer. The base five-door Fiesta will sticker for $15,795. But a fully loaded Fiesta could top $23,000.

Kain says that's competitive, but the real money -- for dealers -- will come if customers load it up.