Powerful but small-capacity turbocharged engines could be the car industry’s version of products like the Apple iPad, according to Ford UK boss Mark Ovenden.

He said Ford’s new Ecoboost 125hp 1.0-litre engine, debuting in the Focus, could be a catalyst for firms and drivers to look again at petrol power, and he dismissed any concerns about so-called engine size snobbery if drivers were to show concerns about being driven into smaller-capacity engines.

“What’s most important is to focus on what it does rather than what it is. We’ll talk about the economy and CO2, and we have to get people to test drive it,” said Ovenden. “Once you do that people aren’t saying too much about the displacement.”

He pointed to the wider technological world for precedent: “People are used to getting masses of power out of increasingly smaller products. The 1.0 could be compared with the iPad – the technology is small but the overall power is absolutely huge. We don’t badge cars with engine size any more – it’s a 125hp car with best-in-class fuel economy and a lower tax band.”

Follow BusinessCar on TWITTER.