California Autos Examiner

Monday, June 01, 2009

The new Ford Fiesta is a Menace to society (Part II)


Ford Fiesta with a big smile on its face.

This is part two of my interview with White Menace. Menace, aka Jason McMurry, is one of a hundred agents who are spending six months behind the wheel of their own Ford Fiesta. You can catch part one of my interview by clicking here.

Jason found out about the Fiesta Movement from his friend at Justin.tv. Justin.tv is a website for lifecasting and live video streaming of events online. Jason's friend thought that he would be a good fit for the Movement and suggested he make a video. We know how that turned out!

Prior to applying to join the Fiesta Movement, Jason was not familiar with the Fiesta. That’s not shocking to hear as the Fiesta won’t be available in the United States until the summer of 2010. What Ford hopes to do is prime the pump by making potential customers aware of the Fiesta and what it has to offer. In a way, the Fiesta Movement is like a trailer for a blockbuster movie that is being shown to audiences well in advance of the movie's arrival in theaters. What is different here is that instead of one team making a commercial, Ford has 100 well-connected, creative people and their entourages Twittering away on behalf of its new car.

I asked Jason about the danger of appearing co-opted by a major corporation. Jason says that he is very sensitve to that and makes sure that he doesn't hit his followers over the head with the Fiesta. If it makes sense to mention the car he does so, but not so much that it sounds like a 30 Rock sketch.

Jason has been quite taken with his Fiesta. It’s easy to park, a real plus in San Francisco, has expressive styling and it sports both Bluetooth and USB connectivity for his iPhone. Being a European market car, Jason’s Fiesta is not equipped with the Microsoft SYNC system. Since the car is a year from launch, there is no official spec sheet for the U.S. model, but I think it is safe to assume that SYNC will be available. Jason said the fuel economy was good, so good in fact that he isn't even keeping track, all he knows is that he drives a lot and rarely fills up. Ford is estimating the Fiesta's fuel mileage will hit somewhere in the high thirties and low forties. How about the negatives? It’s pretty difficult to come up with complaints about a car that you get to use for free, but Jason did offer up that the seatback recliner is a knob as opposed to a lever and this makes it difficult to recline the seat.

Fiesta Movement agents are asked to complete one mission each month. Jason's first assignment was to visit the National Yo-Yo Museum in Chico, CA. You can check out his experience at the museum in this video. For his next mission, Jason will be interviewing the folks over at Pandora. Pandora is a music service where users enter a song or artist that they enjoy, and the service responds by playing selections that are musically similar. I'm actually listening to Pandora right now!

Jason’s Fiesta has literally stopped traffic, with some interested parties following the car around town until it stops so that they can ask questions. In his experience so far, Jason estimates that 70 percent of those folks who do approach him are aware of the Fiesta with the remainder being attracted to the car upon first sight. When I spoke with the Ford team touring the West Coast with the Fiesta Movement, they quoted a similar percentage.

Jason will have the Fiesta for another four and half months or so. In addition to the missions, he hopes to take a road trip hitting hot spots in Southern California, Vegas and on through Arizona.

For more info: You can directly shape the 2011 Fiesta yourself. Head on over to FordVehicles.com/2011Fiesta, click on “Your Fiesta,” pick your body style, color, transmission and choose the top three features you’d like to see! You can follow Jason's adventures through one of his many social media outlets: Fiesta Movement, Twitter, and YouTube.com/whitemenace to name a few.

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