You're Still Not Invited to the Blue Oval Fiesta; Ford Subcompact's Status Still Unknown in North America

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
youre still not invited to the blue oval fiesta ford subcompacts status still

At TTAC, we’ve been doubtful of the Ford Fiesta’s future for many months.

It’s not merely the condition of the subcompact market, where sales are down 17 percent so far this year, that causes us to doubt.

It’s not only the Fiesta’s relative North American youth — it’s only been on sale since 2010 — that makes us wonder about the car’s long-term viability.

Indeed, our doubt isn’t even centered on those two factors combined, or on the fact that the Fiesta is on track for fewer sales in calendar year 2017 than the Nissan Versa has already produced.

No, we find it difficult to believe in the Fiesta’s prospects because Ford won’t even discuss the Fiesta’s North American future.

Ford revealed a new, seventh-generation Fiesta in November 2016.

The Fiesta is a massively important vehicle for Ford in many markets. In the United Kingdom, for example, where Ford garners one-twentieth of its global volume, the Fiesta earns four out of every ten Ford sales.

Locally, however, the Fiesta forms less than 2 percent of Ford Motor Company volume in the United States, less than 1 percent of Ford Motor Company volume in Canada, and 10 percent in Mexico, where North America’s Fiestas are assembled.

At the launch festivities, Ford wasn’t holding back: the company showcased the Fiesta Active, both two and four-door bodystyles, and a wide variety of trims. A modest unveiling this was not. But we were nevertheless not surprised when the seventh-gen Fiesta’s November debut coincided with an utter absence of U.S.-specific details.

Months later, however, we noticed Ford’s U.S. media site was still not showing any details for the 2018 Fiesta despite having distinct sections for the 2018 EcoSport and refreshed 2018 F-150, plus the new 2018 Expedition and now the refreshed 2018 Mustang.

So in early February, we asked Ford about the new Fiesta’s North American lineup and timing. “Customer demand for small vehicles continues to grow globally, and Fiesta is an important part of our portfolio. We’ll have more to say about other markets at a later date.”

Our minds not put at ease, we again asked in mid-February for Ford to simply confirm that North America would in fact get a chance to buy the new Fiesta. Ford would not confirm, saying, “We’ll have more to say about other markets at a later date.”

Now it’s June, and Ford is hosting European media in Spain for first drives of the seventh-generation Fiesta while North Americans sit in their F-150s wondering if a fuel shortage would require them to buy a Fiesta for their workday commutes.

On behalf of that potential Fiesta buyer, TTAC inquired with Ford again. We asked a handful of questions, throwing everything at Ford’s PR wall in hopes of something sticking.

Will the current Mexico-built Fiesta continue in its current generation?

Will the new Fiesta come here, ever?

Would Ford, if the decision is made not to build a new Fiesta for North America, consider importing the Fiesta ST alone, or is that cost prohibitive?

“We have introduced the next-generation Fiesta for Europe and Middle East & Africa,” Ford’s North American car communications manager, Dan Jones, told TTAC yesterday. “We’ll have more to say about other markets at a later date.”

“Customer demand for small vehicles continues to grow globally,” Jones says, “and Fiesta is an important part of our portfolio.”

Perhaps “globally” should be emphasized in italics.

Meanwhile, with news that production of the next Focus would be transferred to China, and not Mexico, rumors of the Fiesta’s Cuautitlán demise are also spreading south of the border.

El Financiero inquired with Ford about the future of Fiesta production in Mexico. In a similar fashion, Ford declined to comment about future product plans.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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2 of 23 comments
  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Jun 29, 2017

    Is it worth it for a manufacturer to bail or ignore a segment? Like FCA ditching the Dart and 200. Peoples tastes do change and crossovers and SUV's might peak. Millennials and Generation Z's might be attuned to smaller vehicles that are still practical and have a hatch or a decent trunk.

  • Promit Promit on Jun 30, 2017

    We should've gotten a Mazdaspeed 2. Of course nowadays we don't have a Mazdaspeed anything so that ship seems to have sailed.

  • Ltcmgm78 I think cars need an AM/FM radio for emergency notifications. Driving at night, I will scan the AM frequency just to see what comes up and to be amazed at the different cities I can get after dark. My SAAB had a Euro-spec radio and I could get long-wave (lower freq than the AM band) and found lots of interesting listening.
  • Golden2husky You'd be way better off in a base Vette for that money.
  • Gene Sedans and coupes don't sell in the quantity that they used to but they still make up a significant market. Why Ford abandoned this segment still baffles me. Again, just look at Toyota, Dodge, Mercedes, BMW, Hyundai, etc who have not abandoned this segment.
  • JMII Cracker Barrel - there is one off every major interstate interchange east of the Mississippi.I don't drink coffee - and based on the constant debate / worry of others just drinking water or tea has greatly simplified my life.Regardless of your choice in snacks and drinks I recommend the iExit app: it shows what hotels, restaurants and gas stations are coming up so you can decide if its worth pulling off.
  • Redapple2 My dad s buddy got a tire thru the windshield. DRT -dead right there.