Ford Set to Reveal All-New Version of Fiesta

Critical makeover could help reverse declining sales.

by on Nov.28, 2016

Ford is looking to change the sales momentum on its smallest car with the debut of the 2017 Ford Fiesta.

With small car sales taking a nosedive, tomorrow’s unveiling of an all-new, seventh-generation Fiesta model could be precisely what Ford Motor Co. needs to reverse the familiar subcompact’s momentum.

Long one of the most popular models in the maker’s global line-up, Fiesta has been hard hit by the impact of cheap gas and the concurrent shift away from conventional passenger cars to crossover and sport-utility vehicles. Ford recently announced it will shift production of all its small car models, including the slightly bigger Focus, from the U.S. to Mexico, replacing them with higher-demand trucks.

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“The new Fiesta will be our best expression of Ford – lovable fun, sporty to drive and with an unmatched personality true to the spirit of the iconic small car that has delighted generations of customers for the past 40 years,” Jim Farley, president of Ford’s European operations, said in a statement.

The Fiesta is one of the smallest models in the Ford global line-up – and the bottom model in its U.S. portfolio. But it plays a critical role as an access point for young, typically first-time buyers who, the maker hopes, will continue to move up the ladder as they grow older and more affluent.

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The challenge has been going up against a flood of competitors at a time when the overall subcompact segment is on the decline. For the first 10 months of this year, U.S. sales of the Ford Fiesta dipped 26.6%, one of the bigger declines in the industry among major product lines. Ford’s passenger car sales, on the whole, have tumbled 8.9%, according to tracking by Autodata Corp., though that has largely been offset by growing demand for the maker’s light truck models.

Ford is looking to attract younger buyers to the brand with the seventh-generation Fiesta.

The current, sixth-generation Fiesta currently is being produced at Ford’s Cuautitlan Stamping and Assembly Plant in Mexico. Ford CEO Mark Fields recently announced plans to move production of several other small models, the Focus and the C-Max people-mover, from plants in the Midwest to a new factory in Mexico.

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That triggered a brouhaha during the recent presidential election, then-candidate Donald Trump threatening to enact stiff tariffs on Mexican-made Ford models to force production back to the U.S. if he was elected. CEO Fields has since said there are no plans to reverse that sourcing decision, however.

Along with the unveiling of the new Fiesta on Tuesday, Ford also indicates it will make other news during the “Go Further” event scheduled to take place at 8 a.m. EST (2 p.m. CET) at the company’s production complex in Cologne, Germany.

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That includes new announcements about its commercial vehicles, fuel-efficiency efforts, and its “Smart Mobility” initiative. An estimated 2,500 Ford employees, dealers and journalists are expected to attend the event.

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