California Autos Examiner

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

1 Million miles in a 2011 Ford Fiesta and 1 Million Questions for Fiesta’s brand manager (Part I)

Ford Fiesta (International version)

Recently I have posted several articles on the forthcoming 2011 Ford Fiesta. I’ve test driven a European example, spoken with a Fiesta Movement agent and now I’ve had a chance to chat with the Fiesta’s brand manager, Sam De La Garza. What follows is a comprehensive look at the 2011 Ford Fiesta and how Ford is working hard to reach out to prospective customers.

It’s been awhile. That’s how Mr. De La Garza described Ford’s absence from the B-Segment (subcompact) in the United States. Ford’s early 1990s effort, the Festiva / Aspire, was the last time that Ford tried to sell to the B-Segment to Americans. Ford found that many people aspired to drive something else (my phrasing, not Sam’s) and subsequently left the segment here in the United States. The auto sales landscape has been altered dramatically since that time and now Ford is ready to take a fresh look at small cars in the United States. The question is, “How does Ford go about creating a successful launch?”

Firstly, Ford has to have one heck of an offering. The new Fiesta has been widely praised by the international media. The Fiesta has been awarded a prestigious ‘red dot’ design award for international product design with 28 leading designers and design experts from 19 countries calling the Fiesta one of the most stylish cars in the world, stating the design as “innovative and dynamic.” The Fiesta has been selected as “Car of the Year” by various publications. Topping it off, the Fiesta has been a sales champ since its launch in Europe. All of that is good and well, but Ford does have memories of its past European imports in the United States such as the Merkur line and the Contour/Mystique. Ford is determined to make sure that history does not repeat itself with its new “One Ford” initiative. But how? How can Ford make sure that the 2011 Fiesta is a car that people want to buy and not something they are compelled to buy because of a low price or massive incentives? It’s a simple answer with a creative approach: Find out what the customer wants, but not just through clinics and surveys...(to be continued)

In Part II of this interview, you’ll find out much more about the 2011 Fiesta. What is Ford’s fuel mileage target? Will a three door be offered? What about a performance model? Any chance of a diesel? Will the U.S. car get the same soft-touch plastics as its Euro brethren? What has Ford learned so far from the Fiesta Movement? What is this about 1,000,000 miles in a Fiesta? All of this and much more shall be answered! Stay tuned!

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