Ford today announced that 2011 retail sales in Malaysia rose 145% from the previous year to 7,188 vehicles. This big jump represents the brand’s best annual performance since 1997. Ford is distributed here by Sime Darby AutoConnexion.

Unsurprisingly, the fantastic result owes a lot to the popularity of the Ford Fiesta, the sharply styled and feature rich B-segment global car. 2011 was the first full year of sales for the Fiesta, which found 4,297 new homes.

Before the Fiesta, the Ford name here has been synonymous with “Ranger” for the longest time, and sales of the pick-up truck rose more than 17% to 2,274 units. Sales of the C-segment Focus also increased 58% from the previous year to 263 units.

“This is an outstanding achievement for both Ford and our partner Sime Darby AutoConnexion, and highlights the unmatched commitment we have to our business and our customers in Malaysia,” said David Westerman, Regional Manager, Asia Pacific, Ford Export & Growth Operations.

Last year, Sime Darby AutoConnexion launched the S-MAX MPV and the facelifted Mondeo, both powered by 2.0-litre Ecoboost turbocharged engines. 2012 will see the local launch of the all new Ford Ranger “and other segment defining products,” teased Westerman.

Could the new Focus be one of these “segment defining” cars? Thai production of the new Focus will begin around mid-year at the company’s new plant at Rayong, and the C-segment entry could sneak in before 2012 comes to a close.