By on June 29, 2017

2018 Ford Fiesta Vignale - Image: FordAt 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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23 Comments on “You’re Still Not Invited to the Blue Oval Fiesta; Ford Subcompact’s Status Still Unknown in North America...”

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Yeah, they’re replacing it with the Ecosport. They’re just waiting for the current Fiesta stock to sell off before announcing it.

    • 0 avatar

      I can see that, crossovers (especially subcompact) sell extremely well. It would be cool if the EcoSport gets the ST treatment, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

  • avatar

    Kind of a bummer, this is easily the best driving car in its class. If they only made it roomier (as this redesign likely is), it would be unstoppable. The subcompact class is full of annoying compromises. You can have a roomy Versa Note, a reliable Fit, or a refined Fiesta, but none all at the same time. I get that this class is about compromises, but at least one company should be able to pull it off.

  • avatar

    I’d submit the Fit is both roomy and reliable. It could certainly use more refinement. As for the Fiesta, it has inadequate rear seat legroom. I’m surprised it sells so well overseas. Last time I was in England and Europe I saw plenty of 6 foot tall adults.

  • avatar

    Come on! The fiesta has been on sale in North America since 1978! (With a little break between the original and current model.)

    Looks like it’s days here are numbered – at best Ford will extend production of the current model for awhile, but we’ll never see the new one.

  • avatar

    What a shame. My daughter loves her ’14 Fiesta S. I like it also as it reminds me of the minimalist VW Beetle’s that I owned in past years. She has the 5MT transmission and has driven it 34k miles without issue – the PowerShift Fiesta’s probably did no favors for potential buyers. My local dealer has one tech assigned to work on Fiesta’s and Focus’s equipped with these things.

  • avatar

    I owed a ’11 Fiesta. It was the car from hell. There will never be another Ford in my garage again! Honda says thanks Ford for the two cars they sold to us because of the Ford. I called to have repair the day I bought it.

    No one will notice it when it’s gone. I haven’t seen a Fiesta on my local Ford lot since 2012.

  • avatar

    Considering they’re shutting down Focus production for an entire year, I think it’s safe to say the Fiesta will be leaving the US market.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    My local Ford dealer currently lists these three interesting (to me, at least) cars:

    ’17 Fiesta S Hatch / 1.6 / 5MT – $13,452
    ’17 Focus S Sedan / 2.0 / 5MT – $13,092
    ’17 Focus SE Sedan / 1.0T / 6MT – $13,761

    It would be hard to pull the trigger on the Fiesta when the Focus S has 40 more hp and more passenger room for less money, and the SE adds power windows and cruise and gets better MPG for a little more $$$.

    • 0 avatar

      Except Ford makes the options painful. Want a Focus hatch with MT? Has to be an ST. The sedan with manual transmission can’t configure heated seats (if you add that option it increases the price by $2600 and adds an automatic + SE EcoBoost® Appearance Package). So on and so on. Too many compromises.

      I want a manual transmission with heated seats and automatic A/C and high MPG. Checking all those boxes? You’re very limited in options. Fiesta SE or Civic EXT or a Mazda 3 Touring (so long as you don’t want that Mazda to be a hatch, because then you can’t have a stick shift).

      I’ll even take it in a color other than brown.

      • 0 avatar
        Matt Foley

        Right. The Focus S does not have cruise, and has power front windows only (the rears are cranks). So if you want cruise and a manual, you either take a chance on the 1.0’s unproven reliability, or you go with the tried-and-true 2.0 and add the Rostra cruise kit.

        Of course, you can buy a second-hand Mini Cooper with a manual and all the goodies that’s a blast to drive…if you feel like spinning the roulette wheel on BMW/Mini reliability.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d take an iA over the Fiesta at that price, even giving up the hatch. I ended up paying $13,750 before TTL in SOCAL for a Yaris iA Manual, which drove far better than the Fiesta’s I test drove. This was three months ago.

  • avatar

    Does this make Mark’s Fiesta a collector’s item?

  • avatar

    I appreciate TTAC following this story. I saw a bunch of European 2018 Fiesta news getting posted and nobody else in the United States still seems to be asking if they will bring it here. Looks like the choices for cars will soon be sliced even thinner.

    A question: if a company doesn’t bring a current generation to market in a country at its debut, how common is it for them to bring it along later in that car generation’s life-cycle?

  • avatar

    I recently purchased a Focus ST, but came really close to buying the Fiesta ST. I have owned it less than a month and have 3500 miles on the odo. Love the car, but when I drove the Fiesta, I was super impressed at what you got in the ST performance version of this car for the price, if one were able to dicker on sticker. That white Fiesta ST would be sitting in my garage had I not found the race red Focus ST that I was able to purchase for just over a grand more, when all the dickering was done. I have not been disappointed, but the power and handling of the Fiesta still linger in my mind. Since I do a lot of autocross competition, I have several friends who own the Fiesta ST and it is pretty much the car to have in SCCA’s H Street autocross competition…The Focus ST is a class higher in G Street, also competitive, but not a whole lost quicker on a 60 second course than the Fiesta…power to weight tends to favor the Fiesta ST.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    I’m with the EcoSport as replacement idea as listed above. Much better profits for what is essentially the same thing.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    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.

  • avatar

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

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