Who says small American-brand vehicles can't sell well in the U.S? There was a time when U.S. automakers shied away from the small-car market, thinking it wasn't worth it.

When the Japanese showed that it was worth it, American automakers went back to the drawing board.

The result? For one thing, the birth of the PT Cruiser. DaimlerChrysler can't sell enough of them. And that funky little vehicle just won Motor Trend's car of the year award.

Not to be outdone, Ford has two smash hits on its hands - the Focus compact car and the Escape compact SUV, despite the latter's recall problems of late. Ford now is looking to build more variations of both.

Meanwhile, GM has big plans to regain some of its lost market share in the small-vehicle segment. Seven all-new entry-level GM vehicles are in the works, including a more-refined Cavalier and a compact Saturn SUV, which is due out soon.