FRANKFURT, Germany – Ford of Europe CEO Stephen Odell is optimistic about acceptance of the auto maker’s new 1.0L 3-cyl. direct-injection turbocharged EcoBoost engine, which will debut in Europe next year.

He also is keeping a watchful eye on European market conditions, particularly concerns that Greece will default on its debt and the resulting impact on consumer confidence throughout the European Union.

The 1.0L, Ford’s smallest production engine ever, will be offered in European versions of the Focus C-car, C-Max and B-Max cross/utility vehicles. Odell predicts there will be “quite a high take rate” for the engine, despite its diminutive size.

“I think the demand will be driven by the engine flexibility, including great torque and fantastic CO2 (carbon-dioxide emissions) and fuel economy,” he tells WardsAuto on the sidelines of the international auto show here.

“People may start off asking why a 3-cyl. engine, but the key is to drive it,” he adds, noting there still will be an array of diesel and gasoline engines offered in the 1.0L models.

Installed in the Focus, the 1.0L 3-cyl. delivers more power than the current 1.6L 4-cyl. gasoline engine, while emitting less than 120 g/km of CO2, the auto maker says. Official fuel-economy ratings have yet to be announced.

While he’s optimistic about the 1.0L, Odell is not so confident about the European economy. The first quarter was good, while the second quarter flattened out, he says. What will happen in the third quarter remains to be seen.

A lot depends on sovereign debt, particularly if Greece defaults.

“I don’t know about Greece,” Odell says. “It depends on how orderly (a default) that would be. Would they stay with the euro? Would they not stay in the euro? I think the politicians have a lot to think about quickly in the near future to make sure whatever happens is a managed situation.”

All Ford can do during this turmoil is to keep investing in product. “The key is to stick with your plan and keep investing in products, because we know we’ll need them in the future,” he says.

bpope@wardsauto.com