By on July 24, 2017

2017-ford-fiesta-hatchback

After months of speculation as to the fate of the Ford Fiesta in North America, as well as months of hazy non-answers from communications staff, Ford Motor Company’s B-segment program manager, Robert Stiller, has stated that the subcompact car segment in Dearborn is dead.

No more Ford Fiesta.

After going on sale in the U.S. in mid-2010 as a 2011 model, the Fiesta’s American seems destined to end this year. Buyers in Europe and overseas — always a reliable draw for itty-bitty cars — are guaranteed a seventh-generation model. Oh boy, do they ever receive a new model. The 2018 Fiesta bows not just as a three- or five-door hatch, but also in luxurious Vignale and soft-roading Active trims.

Over here? Hug your 1.0-liter EcoBoosts tightly and shed a tear, Fiesta fans. The little guy appears doomed for the chopping block. Can Ford interest you in a subcompact crossover?

According to Romanian automotive website 0-100.ro (via Autoevolution), Ford knows where the Fiesta’s real fans live. As such, there didn’t seem much use in shipping the revamped model to countries where sales are dropping fast.

Stiller told the Romanians, the previous model was a global Ford product, and with the new generation, we are targeting only Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In North America, especially the U.S., China, and Latin America, the demand for such vehicles is declining, and we are reacting accordingly.”

We reached out to Ford for comment and received a response we’ve grown accustomed to hearing. “Fiesta continues to play an important role in our portfolio,” said Mike Levine, Ford’s North American product communications manager. “We’ll have more to say about Fiesta in markets outside of Europe at a later date.”

So, no official confirmation yet, even as the company’s website updates its models (except for one) to reflect 2018 specifications.

There’s no doubt as to the Fiesta’s dire sales situation. The model makes up less than 2 percent of Ford’s U.S. volume, and less than 1 percent of Canada’s. Its best sales year in the U.S., 2013, saw over 71,000 Fiesta sedans and hatchbacks sold, compared to 48,807 moved in 2016. North of the border, it’s even worse. The Fiesta peaked early in Canada, posting its best sales figures in 2011 before declining precipitously every year since. From over 13,000 sales in 2011, Fiesta demand in Canada fell to just over 3,000 in 2016. In 2017, first-half sales figures show just over 1,000 Fiestas sold.

Even the hot-hatch Fiesta ST isn’t enough to stimulate overall sales. Meanwhile, the subcompact segment decreases in market share year after year, muscled out by crossovers of every size and description. Is it any wonder why outlets like TTAC smelled the grim stench of death surrounding the pint-sized model?

Even overseas, the Fiesta’s standing isn’t safe. Stiller also said Ford plans to drop the slow-selling sedan bodystyle, focusing instead on a newly diverse hatch lineup.

Assuming the Ford exec was lucid at the time of his statements to the Romanian auto press, it looks like the 2018 EcoSport — a subcompact crossover hastily dragged to America from overseas markets — will become the country’s sole Blue Oval B-segment offering. Not surprisingly, the Ecosport shares the same platform as the Fiesta, as well as its 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder (in base trim). Those wanting brawny four-cylinder power have the option of a 2.0-liter engine powering all four wheels.

The EcoBoost arrives in an almost certainly Fiesta-less Ford lineup in early 2018.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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35 Comments on “RIP, Ford Fiesta? Blue Oval Exec Says 2018 Model Isn’t Coming to America...”


  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    I read somewhere that the 1 liter turbo will be in the CUV Ford is about to introduce here.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Even though the Ecosport is a Fiesta on stilts that is going to be sourced from India, I’m pretty sure they’ll sell a lot more Ecosports. Get those Fiesta STs while you can!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “The model makes up less than 2 percent of Ford’s U.S. volume”

    …and surely far less than 2% of Ford’s profits.

    Besides not caring about fuel economy, I’m sure consumers find this car to be way too tight inside.

  • avatar
    theonlydt

    North of the border it was clear they never really wanted to bother selling many anyway.

    They’d bring in nasty, base, white sedans with the dual clutch transmission and wonder why they didn’t sell. The dual clutch transmission *should* have helped it sell, but word quickly got out that it wasn’t very good.

    It then went many years without an update.

    It’s a shame, because I like the Fiesta. Best handling and riding of the sub-compacts. 1.0 ecoboost with a stick is the way to go. But when you can get into a Versa Note cheaper (paid off over 32 years of sub-prime financing), a Fit with more room, etc etc it never made sense.

    Of course the stiffest competition was in-house. A nicely specced Fiesta was typically within $1k of a similarly specced Focus.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Can’t say I’m surprised. C-segment is peak hatchback/sedan, everything off the peak is going to continue to suffer.

    • 0 avatar
      JDG1980

      There’s a reason for that. Modern compacts have enough rear-seat legroom, while most modern mid-size and full-size sedans lack adequate headroom – you have to switch to a crossover to get that. So any sedan bigger than a compact (except a few legacy models like the Chrysler 300) is a waste of parking space, fuel, and money.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Hate to see it go. Had more than a few as rentals and liked it enough to put it on my serious list of eventual replacements a few years ago for my 2004 Lancer Ralliart Sportback. Loved the thought of a small, manual trans hatch for a DD. That is until I adopted my daughter and started attending dog shows with her. So, I bought the Fiesta’s slightly bigger (and taller) cousin, a ’14 Escape S. Not as much fun to drive.

    Maybe my desire for the Fiesta came from the fact that an uncle of mine in Germany had a Gen 1 Fiesta and I cherished that man dearly. Isn’t it funny how many of us associate cars more with the people that drove/drive them than perhaps the car itself?

    So, maybe a cheap Fiesta will be an easy buy a few years from now when the kiddo is looking for her first car.

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    Does Ford break down the sales of sedans and hatchbacks? I ask, because it seems to me, at least in anecdotal observations, that the sedan is more common in the US vs the hatch. If that’s the case, given that the hatch seems to be the overwhelming choice in other markets, it makes sense to simplify and drop the sedan from the global portfolio. And doing that means that it makes no sense to sell the lower volume hatch here.

    Canada is interesting, because I have inferred that hatches and wagons make up a larger % of sales there. Perhaps there is a small possibility they continue to get the Fiesta.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    ” a subcompact crossover hastily dragged to America from overseas markets”

    and your reason for asserting it’s being “hastily dragged” here is…

    ?

  • avatar
    dwford

    Hastily. Ha! The Ecosport has been around in it’s current form since 2013. If 5 years is hasty, maybe that was one of the reasons Mark Fields got fired.

  • avatar
    AK

    Hope this has some positive impact on ST resale value.

    I won’t hold my breath though.

  • avatar
    volvo

    I find it worthwhile to visit the GB Ford website. Summary is the Fiesta is offered as 11 models, 3 engines (diesel, NA and turbo), 6 speed and auto transmissions and your choice of 7 colors with upper level trims sporting leather interiors and what looks like well bolstered sports seats.

    To top it off the country of origin is Germany (at least until Brexit kicks in).

    The diesel and turbo appear to offer decent performance and handling. My experience with this class of car in Europe (Ford, Skoda, Fiat) is that with the stick and diesel or turbo engine they are not bad at all. I don’t understand why US distribution networks will not bring in a decently equipped and trimmed subcompact unless it has MSRP $35K or more.

    • 0 avatar
      newenthusiast

      Because the ‘hot hatch’ is the only market for well equipped sub-compacts in the US.

      For the MSRP of a Titanium trim Fiesta, you could get a compact like the Civic, Jetta, or Cruze…possibly even a Ford Focus, all of which are larger, and more comfortable, and get you similar fuel efficiency.

      It’s a matter of “most car for the money”.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I’m surprised that demand is drying up in Latin America, unless the market as a whole is on the decline. The Fiesta seems to be the right size for that market. It looks like Ford isn’t going to push them in SE Asia either, which is odd, because the Fiesta was a fairly popular car in Thailand and Indonesia (like most B-segment cars).

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Ka is a lower-cost B-segment car and may be taking some Fiesta sales.

    • 0 avatar
      Magnusmaster

      The sixth-generation Fiesta didn’t do very well in Latin America, so Ford will do what everyone does when a good (as in, not third-world garbage) car doesn’t sell: facelift it to make it look like the European model so people are fooled into thinking it’s a new car, and cut corners everywhere until the car is a piece of garbage. Sadly, people in South America only look at the price and cheap features like touchscreens to make people think they bought a nice car and forget about the cheap plastics, horrible build quality and poor structural integrity that makes the car a deathtrap. Too bad because the Fiesta was one of the few decent cars you could buy in South America.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    This is too bad. Everything else being equal, I like this size car, and it’s a good handler – far from the subcompact rattletraps of my youth. Of course, with traffic these days largely consisting of 3-ton killing machines, everything is definitely not equal. I hope Ford at least maintains prints for whatever is needed to bring the future EU vehicle to US spec; next time gas prices spike we’re sure to be looking for cars like this again.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      I’d much rather get hit by a modern pickup truck while driving a modern Fiesta than get hit by a 1987 family sedan while driving a 1987 Festiva.

    • 0 avatar
      JDG1980

      The problem with the gas price argument is that compact cars now have fuel efficiency as good, or better, than subcompacts.

      The Fiesta, with its most common drivetrain configuration, only gets 27 MPG city and 35 MPG highway (EPA ratings). Few buyers select the 1.0L EcoBoost option, since this only comes with a stick shift, which most American drivers can’t use. For a car this small, 27/35 isn’t really that impressive.

      In comparison, a Honda Civic with an automatic transmission gets 31 MPG city and 40 MPG highway even in the lowest trim levels (if you go up to the turbo, you get an extra 1 city / 2 highway MPG). The Civic gets better gas mileage despite being one full size class larger than the Fiesta.

      And, of course, that’s without even getting into hybrids, which would probably be much more popular in the case of a fuel price crunch. Ford would much rather sell (and buyers would much rather buy) something like the Fusion Hybrid (43 city / 41 highway) than the tiny Fiesta. Heck, it’s even plausible that once the F-150 Hybrid hits in 2020, it will be able to approach, if not beat, the Fiesta’s 27 MPG around town. Now which one do you think most drivers would rather have?

  • avatar
    RS

    A better automatic transmission would have helped US Fiesta (and Focus) sales.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    I rented a Fiesta and was incredibly impressed with how well it drove. I would have loved one with an Audi-grade interior.

    I can’t understand why Ford is walking away from 50K sales a year. The engineering costs are done, why not just import it from Europe for retail customers?

    Remember the disaster with the 2nd generation Focus? They ended up losing money.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I’m willing to bet that it does lose money in North America, and there is a lot more to it than just importing Euro spec cars, even in LHD.

      A healthy majority of those 50k sales are for rental cars, in sedan form. Since Fiesta sedan is incredibly unpopular in places where the car itself IS popular, Ford is discontinuing that body style.

      So, maybe they could hope to sell 20-30k hatches here a year to customers who would otherwise buy a Focus or EcoSport. Not worth the cost of going through the ordeal of making it acceptable in our market. Why shove a car down the throats of people who don’t want it? Just to lose money on it?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I would guess the Fiesta has the smallest margins of any Ford, but its support costs would be the same as any other vehicle. Any incentives on the Fiesta probably make it a loser for Ford.

      Also, perhaps Ford is expecting an onerous import policy by the Trump Administration which could make the Fiesta untenable to sell in the US.

      When you can print money with F-150s and Escapes, it’s easier to walk away from the Fiesta.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        “When you can print money with F-150s and Escapes, it’s easier to walk away from the Fiesta.”

        And as we know from experience, that truck-centric money printing machine will never ever stop.

        • 0 avatar
          JDG1980

          I suggest reading the sales stats on Good Car Bad Car.

          Even in 2007 and 2008, the Ford F-Series was still the best selling vehicle in the United States. (And Chevy Silverado was still #2). They were way down, but so was nearly everything else, due to the recession. Even the Prius was down 12.3% in 2008.

          Subcompact cars don’t show up in the top 20 best sellers. None of them, either domestic or foreign. They are, and always have been, a niche market in America.

        • 0 avatar

          Stop no not really. But it is subject to temporary distractions.

  • avatar
    TW5

    The game is starting to come into focus. Take your hatchback fleet, give it 4-wheel drive, approach angle of 28º, breakover angle of 14º, departure angle of 20º, ride height of 20cm; and it magically becomes a light-duty truck. For vehicles with GVWR over 6,000lbs, only the ground clearance measurement are required.

    Imo, this means all of these little CUV golf carts will be AWD-only in the future.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    I am glad to read this. Hopefully Ford next kills the Focus in all its iterations. What Ford desperately needs are smaller SUVs than Escape, more trucks and body on frame SUVs (Bronco and Ranger), and then a large four door sedan to replace aging/old/sardine can Ford 500/Taurus/old Volvo.

  • avatar
    zip89123

    Ford built a POS, so RIP is saving buyers a lot of misery.

  • avatar
    manu06

    I’ve been looking for the 1.0 Fiesta. None near me.
    Prices on new 1.6L Fiesta’s are up 4k off MSRP and
    2 year old used Fiesta’s with 30-40k miles are in the
    mid 7’s .

  • avatar
    RocketScience

    The new Fiesta is a big step up, Give it chance. If after a year or two it turns out to be a flop then discuss axing from the NA market.


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