SOURCE: Just-Auto.comFarewell Fiesta name after 30 years?
15 May 2007 | Source: just-auto.com editorial team
Mazda engineered new B2E platform for Ford and launched redesigned 2 at Geneva in March, at least a year ahead of Ford
Mazda engineered new B2E platform for Ford and launched redesigned 2 at Geneva in March, at least a year ahead of Ford's new Fiesta replacement. Global engineering is expected to trim cost of regional variants - 3 sedan versions are currently made
Fiesta, one of the motor industry's longest-running model names, is likely to disappear after more than three decades when Ford unveils its new global supermini late next year.
Although Ford insists that a decision has yet to be made, a company source told just-auto: "There is a strong tide running in favour of changing the name and having a new one for the new car, which is funky and radically different from the current model."
The chances of a name change intensified with Ford investigating three potential new badges and registering a fourth.
Genesis, Isis and Phoenix are being screened for prior corporate claims on them while Ford registered Cuga, arguably to avoid rivals detracting from Cougar last used on the medium-sized US-built coupe.
Comments from senior Ford executives implied that, as one company insider claimed, "Fiesta's name is up for grabs. Some of our younger target audience were not born when the model arrived in 1976 so for them heritage is not an issue."
Richard Parry-Jones, global product development vice president, said: "Certain badges accumulate equity and appreciation of brand name values. Perhaps we should not lightly throw that away."
Stephen O'Dell, European sales and marketing vice president, responded, "We will figure it out. The car makes the name and not the other way round."
Dubbed Project Bobcat in the early 1970s, the Spanish-built Fiesta reached European showrooms in 1976, and was priced at GBP1,856 for a 957cc model in the UK in February the following year. It has attracted more than 12m customers worldwide, 3.2m in Britain.
Its global role will extend to sales of a sedan version in North America, probably from 2009, and production of a similar model in Nanjing, China. Sedan versions of the current model are made in Brazil, and a version with a different body is also made in India, with a variant of that made in China as well.
Ford_India also builds the Ikon, an older four-door variant based on the previous-generation Fiesta.
Ironically, Ford's US arm has recently reverted to a long-standing model name after dropping it. Model year 2007's Ford Five Hundred is this 2008's Taurus.