The Ford Fiesta has been in production since 1976, and in that time it has gone through several generations and has proved to be a good seller. The thing is, the Fiesta hasn’t had much of a presence in the United States for some time, as the company’s Focus models have been handling the compact car segment. For the 2010 model year, however, the Fiesta will be back in North America, and it represents the future of Ford.
It is not a specific feature of the Fiesta that will cause it to lay out the future for Ford, but rather the way in which it is produced. Most car companies have a bunch of models that they’ll sell all across the world, but when it comes to North American models, those global models are replaced with cars that are designed to be more U.S.-friendly. When the economy was booming and cars were rolling out the showroom doors, that was fine. However, with auto sales dropping drastically, and they’re expected to keep on like that for a while, that isn’t a viable business strategy. Hence, the Fiesta.
By developing the platform for the vehicle as a global application, Ford has the opportunity to drastically reduce their operating costs. Instead of creating a Fiesta model on one platform for the rest of the world, and then retooling it for the U.S. market, the 2010 Fiesta will have minimal changes between geographic regions. Yes, there will be a few interior options and cabin changes between markets, but for the most part, the Fiesta will be the same across the globe.
Okay, that sounds like a good business strategy, but is the new Fiesta a car that people would want to buy? Yes, yes it is. Slated to take a lower price point than a new 2011 Focus (starting at $17,000 instead of the Focus’ $20,000), the Fiesta will deliver quite a bit for the money. Perhaps the biggest cause for excitement is the drive quality. When you drive a compact, you expect it to feel like a compact. Strong gusts of wind will push you around on the highway, and traveling above 70 mph will rattle all the teeth out of your skull. The Fiesta, though, is surprisingly smooth and stable. If you were put in a Fiesta blindfolded and asked to guess what kind of car you were riding in, you’d probably say a mid-size sedan, it’s that good.
The 2010 Fiesta will also be good on gas. While the final EPA numbers haven’t been calculated yet, the highway mpg will be in the neighborhood of 35, and that will get better as time goes on. The initial run of Fiestas will have four-cylinder engines with displacements of 1.6-liters and 1.8-liters. However, once Ford’s new EcoBoost engine line gets up and running, they’ll be able to replace that with a 1.0-liter engine that gets better mileage and produces comparable power.
The 2010 Fiesta won’t be rolling out of the factory and into American showrooms for another year, but it is lined up to be a big game-changer for Ford. The smooth ride, good gas mileage that will only get better as the model advances, and a good price point combine to make the Fiesta the next big thing in the automotive world.