Ford Motor Company's Antonella Wants a Nicer Fiesta Now, but There's No Antonellas in America

ford motor companys antonella wants a nicer fiesta now but theres no antonellas in

Remember Antonella?

Antonella was a 28-year-old Italian, living in the heart of Rome in the latter part of the last decade, who needed a nimble and stylish Ford.

Antonella has changed. Antonella has more money. She no longer lives with her parents. She has, say it politely, aged, though she’s “still very expressive,” Ford of Europe’s design boss George Saridakis tells Automotive News Europe. Since Antonella changed, the Ford Fiesta for which she was created (or vice versa) has also changed. Ford of Europe now hopes 10 percent of Europe’s Antonellas will choose the upmarket Fiesta Vignale.

What about Antonella’s cousin, Amy in Cleveland? Ford probably hopes she’ll buy a 2018 EcoSport. But if we’re going to be honest about Amy (a TTAC creation), we all know Ford’s inadvertently pulling her into the leftover 2017 Escape she’s been eyeing, the one with a $2,500 discount and interest-free financing over 84 months.

Remember Antonella? Ford created the youthful female to be an imaginary target buyer for the 2011 Fiesta. There were others like her.

Natasha was created on behalf of 2009’s Lincoln C Concept. Natasha must have died, because Lincoln never actually followed through on actually building that car.

Jack was the life of the party when he bought a 2010 Taurus, The New York Times reported in 2009.

For the Ford F-150, there were two individuals, not surprising given the high-volume nature of the vehicle. They were “heroes of the neighborhood,” schlepping refurbished furniture up and down the street and hauling mulch for the subdivision’s truck-less gardener.

Ashley was supposed to be a cool mom who bought a Ford Transit Connect. “She dresses up like her children at Halloween,” The Times said. As we know, Ashley and her friends decided Grand Caravans, Siennas, and Odysseys were more prudent purchases.

But Antonella was the star, and with more money to spend and more friends to influence, she’s back for more. The Ford Fiesta is a segment leader in Europe, so Ford wants to build on the car’s success to capture a larger chunk of the upscale subcompact market. The company says subcompacts costing more than €20,000 ($23,800) formed more than 15 percent of the European subcompact market.

The upscale Titanium model that previously accounted for more than four-in-10 Fiesta sales will lose market share as the Vignale steps in to take its place. Ford still sees a quarter of Europe’s Fiesta buyers opting for the three-door model, a variant that was never offered in the U.S. during the prior generation’s tenure.

Americanized Antonellas, however, appear to be near nonexistent. Ford appears to have no plans to import the seventh-generation Fiesta to its home market. In a market that’s turning its back on subcompact cars while increasingly favoring subcompact crossovers, Antonella remains a fake image in the minds of Ford’s European product planners. On one side of the Atlantic, Antonella lives.

On the other? RIP Antonella.

[Image: Ford Europe]

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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3 of 22 comments
  • Jfb43 Jfb43 on Aug 31, 2017

    Remember when gas was expensive and used Geo Metros were all the rage? Pepperidge Farm remembers. Small cars will, once again, be en vogue, and manufacturers will be behind the curve. It wouldn't be so bad if these ghastly crossovers were hybridized, but nope (at least Ford is finally bringing back the Escape Hybrid).

  • Namesakeone Namesakeone on Aug 31, 2017

    All we would need--God forbid--is another gas crisis, and Antonella would be back in America. Only, with no decent Fiesta or Focus alternative, she'd be forced into a Honda Fit or Civic, a Toyota Corolla, a Nissan Versa or a Mazda 3. (Or maybe a Cruze.) Ford needs to do something about its myopia.

    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Aug 31, 2017

      How high does it have to go. While 4 bucks a gallon did certainly make some buyers stop and think, it certainly didn't radically shift the automotive landscape. Most people still purchased what they would have purchased anyway and simply complained at the pump. Additionally the whole fracking bit has sort of put a cap on how much those sort of market manipulation by the OPEC nations can drive up the price. Sure there will be spikes from time to time as is happening due to refinery shutdown in Texas and there will always be something happening in the middle east (though again, Domestic Fracking helps to hedge against this), but at least for the foreseeable future the days of OPEC dictating to the world how much they will pay for oil are over.

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
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  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.