DetN: Will the New Ford Fiesta Be a One-Hit Wonder?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
detn will the new ford fiesta be a one hit wonder

As much as we give The Detroit News shit for their indefatigable cheer-leading, there are times when Motown’s hometown paper surprises us with something roughly akin to journalism. The article entitled “Ford Fiesta draws raves in Europe” starts off with the usual PR-laden ecstasy (without the DJ Tiësto soundtrack). “The Fiesta will give Americans their first real look at what already defines Ford’s cars and crossovers on this side of the Atlantic. It will also be the litmus test for Ford’s as yet unproven theory that American consumers are finally willing to pay real money for a smart, sophisticated small car. ‘This vehicle represents the core DNA of the company,’ Jim Farley, Ford’s chief marketing officer, told journalists gathered here for the European launch of the Fiesta last week. ‘This vehicle is a catalyst for change.’ It also is a lot of fun to drive.” (Our invitation to the Tuscan junket must have got caught in the spam filter.) Then, just when you think you’ve had your fill of bilious boosterism, “The troubling thing about the Fiesta is that it speaks to Ford’s past just as much as it does to Ford’s future, some analysts say. [Me! Me! Oh pick me!] Ford is an automaker that has, time and again, escaped financial Armageddon on the strength of one really good car. The Model A saved the company after Henry Ford allowed the Model T to linger too long without a replacement. The Mustang pumped new life into the company. And the Taurus saved it from the Japanese. Farley acknowledges that counting on one car is a fundamental flaw in Ford’s culture. But he says it is an issue the company is working hard to exorcise. The Fiesta is not a product of that thinking, he said, because it is just the first in a big lineup of compact and subcompact automobiles.” Uh, I think that one– the importance of continuous development– went straight over Jim’s head. Oh dear.

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  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Sep 15, 2008
    I think if they went back to calling it the Escort, all of these ADD issues would be put to bed, no? Oh, yes, because "Escort" has such brand equity in North America--right up there with "Taurus". Recycling an old name makes sense if the name has positive connotations. While I'm sure a lot of gearheads have Escort nostalgia, most people hear "Escort" and think "Unreliable, cut-rate eighties Ford". It's a move that would make "Rabbit" look like marketing genius. Of course, this the Five Hundred/Taurus, Zephyr/MK-Whatever company. GM can't do product planning but at least they can hammer away at a message until it looks like truth--at least in poor light--but Ford can't market. On that note, I don't think Fiesta is such a great choice. It has some brand equity in Europe, but--and I actually asked this question of several people after I was challenged on it by another poster--most North Americans hear "Fiesta" and think "Festiva". You know, Festiva, the rebadged Kia that made the Escort look good. And no amount of gearhead know-how is going to convin Ford needs to call this, oh, hell, something different. In this case, they need a clean break from their subcompact past. Falcon might work, though Finch is probably more apropos. :)

  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Sep 15, 2008
    You are wrong. The Demio and Fiesta take advantage of platform sharing, not badge-engineering. I'm suprised Mazda isn't selling the Demio here. Unless they're worried about cannibalizing 3 sales, it makes demographic sense.

  • Kcflyer LC 500
  • Kcflyer Sure, we lose money on each one, but we will make it up on volume :)
  • VoGhost You want to hear something mind blowing? Ford last year lost $34K on every BEV it sold. Tesla made $10K per vehicle sold. So stop telling me that once the legacy ICE automakers get into the EV market that they'll wipe the floor with Tesla. My stock is making way too much money to take you seriously.
  • EBFlex Oh this is glorious. Not that any of this is surprising, we've known since day one government cars are not profitable.But imagine losing over $6 billion (total EV experiment losses from 2021-current) by introducing three garbage EVs, two of which are nothing more than removing the proper ICE powertrain and cobbling together some electric motors in that space (fake lightning and the electric van thing). What a staggering level of incompetence.
  • Dimitar Gueorguiev > No way Ford sells 600k EVs this year, or next.Why not? Mustang Mach E is as good as any Tesla or better.