New Fiesta could be an agent of change, Ford says

The new Ford Fiesta, launched to considerable acclaim at the Geneva Motor Show — and destined for North American buyers in the near future — will be an agent of change in our market, believes Ford design director Peter Horbury.

A four-door version of the car will be launched in 2009, and Horbury believes the car will not only be a hit with customers — it will also be profitable for Ford.

“The North American market is now starting to realize that big is not necessarily beautiful,” he said.


This is not a result of actions by automakers — it’s a generational shift that has come about naturally. “Younger buyers accept that they can now pay a premium for smaller things, rather than bigger things — such as mobile phones, MP3 players, laptops and so on. It’s the same with cars.”

This means Ford will take a radically different approach with the Fiesta — selling the car as a premium-priced product, with a loaded specification, rather than stripping out costs in order to keep the price down. “Small cars have traditionally been seen only as entry-level cars in the U.S.

“This means small cars sold in Europe and America have drifted apart in terms of quality.”

He’s got a point. The current European Ford Focus has not been launched in our market as it was believed to be too expensive.

Canadian and U.S. buyerss still get versions of the Mk1 Focus — but with significantly lower specification, even down to dashboard plastics. “Why has this happened?” asked Horbury. “It’s something we will address with the Fiesta.”

Connectivity with phones, iPods, navigation systems and the like is receiving attention, as these features are increasingly demanded by younger buyers. But Horbury wants to ensure that forthcoming driver distraction laws are addressed when applying these new technologies.