Ford announced this week that its killing off the Fiesta compact for good. If this sounds like déjà vu, you're probably thinking of when the Blue Oval overlords smote the entry-level model in 2018. Or perhaps it was when they pulled the plug on the hot hatch Fiesta ST, the only Fiesta to carry on in 2019. It's understandable, but both of those culls were for the North American market. This time around, Ford's putting an end to the Fiesta in Europe, and that means it'll be gone for good.
Ford said that the Fiesta, along with the S-Max and Galaxy people movers, are getting the axe so they can focus (no pun intended, but since we're on the topic that model's going away in 2025) resources on electrification. The company has pledged to make all their passenger cars in Europe fully electric by 2030, with the remainder of their vehicles to follow by 2035.
For many Europeans, the end of the Fiesta is a significant milestone. When it shuffles off this motored coil next year, the nameplate will have been in production for 47 years. The Fiesta debuted in 1976, a response to the OPEC oil crisis and fuel efficient competition such as the VW Polo, Honda Civic and Renault 5. The body was penned by Tom Tjaarda at Ghia and evinced a clean, modern look that was simple yet crisp.
It was Ford's first front-wheel-drive global car, and was even sold in the U.S. briefly. Of course, as was the custom with light, nimble hatchbacks, performance versions soon sprung up, though those were never sold in America. While the Fiesta was originally short-lived in the U.S., it was a bona-fide hit in the rest of the world. The second-generation continued the popularity of the first, and even introduced technologies like the CVT in the 1980s, long before they became mainstream.
The U.S. didn't see the Fiesta again until the 2011 model year, when the car was on its sixth generation. During that time in the rest of the world, it had continued to top best-selling lists. The Fiesta got generally favorable reviews, but six years later Ford announced it was killing off all non-crossover cars except for the Mustang.
With that, the writing was on the wall. The Fiesta continued to sell moderately well in Europe, but even in that small car-loving market sales began to wane. Buyers began to favor the Puma compact crossover and the Fiesta's profit margins just weren't enough for Ford. One account stated that Ford made more money from licensing its brand to Lego than from building the Fiesta.
According to the BBC, Ford has sold some 20 million units worldwide over its 47-year, seven-generation lifespan. That's a pretty good run no matter how you measure it. Unfortunately for fans of small, no-nonsense cars like the Fiesta — or who must buy them out of necessity — there's no more business case and the party will soon be over.
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