Monday, March 1, 2010

2010 Ford Fiesta is a MotorTrend Gotta Have Car of the Year

Sub-compact-size models like the Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit are now refered to as "B"- class cars. Some thought America didn't care and will continue to love their SUV's. Then crude oil passed $100 a barrel and gas prices approached four bucks a gallon. People are now caring and are buying these B-cars. Ford sold its original Fiesta in the Portland area three decades ago. The Fiesta is one of Ford's most successful cars with over twelve million units sold since 1976. It was a hit, and the Blue Ovals are hoping for a repeat performance with the new one, which hits our shores in calendar year 2010.

Ford has teased us with several concept cars. One named Verve, but globally it has been decided it will be called the Ford Fiesta. It has been available for sales in Europe and other markets in three- and five-door hatch variants. The sedan version, with a conventional trunk, is currently being designed for the U.S. and Asia. Gresham Ford will receive its first Ford Fiesta this Fall but is taking orders now. But it's not hard to figure what it'll look like. "Take the five-door Fiesta," says Ford global design chief J Mays, "and graft on the trunk of the Verve sedan concept, and you'll be 99 percent there." The overall package is more substantial looking than the Fit and better proportioned than the Versa. The jury is still out on whether or not the hatchback model Fiestas will be sold here.

The history of the Fiesta is longer than many realize. In the early 1970s, European demand from consumers for small cars was rising. Even Ford's smallest model, the Escort, was a conventional front-engined, rear wheel drive car; yet competitors were launching smaller, front wheel drive cars, like the Fiat 127 and the Renault 5. The effects of the 1973 energy crisis were also increasing demand for smaller cars. BMC (which had since merged into British Leyland) had entered the mini-car market with its Mini in 1959, while the Rootes Group had launched the ultimately less successful Hillman Imp in 1963, but times had moved on and people looking for small cars now wanted practical hatchbacks instead of conventional saloons. GM had entered the modern supermini market with its conventional Opel Kadett City/Chevette three-door hatchback twins early in 1975.

The original plans for the "Bobcat" specified a desire that the new car cost US$100 less to produce than the Ford Escort. In addition, the car was to have a wheelbase longer than that of the Fiat 127, but with overall length shorter than that of Ford's Escort. The final proposal was put together by Tom Tjaarda at Ghia.

Bobcat was approved in autumn 1973, with Ford's engineering centres in Cologne and Dunton (Essex) collaborating. Customer clinics were held across Europe, targeting female buyers in particular. We're not saying the Fiesta's not Manly. It's very masculine.

Ford estimated that 500,000 Fiestas a year would be produced, and built an all-new engine factory near Valencia, Spain; a transaxle factory near Bordeaux, France; factory extensions for the assembly plants in Dagenham, Essex, and Saarlouis, Germany. Final assembly also took place in Valencia. the Fiesta's production in 2010 is far less complicated. In Spring 2002, the all new five-generation car was unveiled, with no genetic links to the 1976 original. Of this Fiesta Mark V, most engines were carried over from the previous Fiesta.