Ford’s Beloved Little Fiesta Is Gone, At Least For Now

Ford's Beloved Little Fiesta Is Gone, At Least For Now

CNN Business

The Ford Fiesta, a huge popular small hatchback in much of the world, will soon be discontinued in European Ford dealerships.

Introduced in 1976 as a fuel-efficient subcompact ‘global car’, the Fiesta was sold in the United States for only about 10 years in total, appearing here from 1978 to 1980 and again from 2011 to 2018. It was a real hit in Europe, though , and especially in the UK, where it was the best-selling car for many years.

Fiestas were once produced in 15 different factories in Europe, Asia and Latin America. In total, 22 million Fiestas have been produced around the world, bringing it close to the historic Volkswagen Beetle in large numbers. Today, the Ford plant in Cologne, Germany, which began making the car in 2017, is the last. That factory will switch completely to electric vehicle production once the last Fiesta comes off the assembly line, which is expected to happen in June 2023.

Ford has said it will sell only electric passenger cars in Europe by 2030 and that it will introduce three new electric passenger cars there over the next two years.

Ford has not announced whether any of those new electric passenger cars could be nicknamed Fiesta or at least take over its segment in the market. The Fiesta has a starting price of around £19,000 in the UK, which equates to around $22,000.

Development of the first generation of Fiesta began in 1972 under the leadership of then CEO Henry Ford II. At the time, it was known as Project Bobcat and teams in Europe and the United States worked together on the program. The following year, an embargo on oil-producing Arab countries led to sharp increases in gasoline prices, further fueling demand for a small, efficient car.

It was not until 1976 that the first Fiestas were built in Saarlouis, Germany, and at a new factory in Valencia, Spain. The Fiesta name was chosen for the car, according to Ford, in part to commemorate the new Spanish factory. The following year, the Fiesta was named Spain’s Car of the Year.

It also quickly gained popularity in the UK when, a few months after the car’s introduction, right-hand drive versions suitable for driving on the left side of the road were available. In 2014, Ford announced that it had become the best-selling car there, surpassing Ford’s own Escort. According to Ford, it was the best-selling small car in all of Europe every year from 2011 to 2015. The small, affordable Fiesta was a popular first car for many in the UK.

In addition to the popular base model, the Fiesta was produced in performance variants.

“Bravo Ford and good night Fiesta. Most of us had one or have a story about it,” wrote driver and TV commentator Paul O’Neil on Twitter. “My very first car and what a car it was.”

In addition to the economical base model, the Fiesta is produced in performance variants such as the Fiesta ST and Fiesta XR2. Fiestas are also popular among enthusiasts and racers to upgrade with performance parts.