End of An Era: The Ford Fiesta
First launching in 1976 with the Mk1, the Fiesta has been a common sight on our roads for over 40 years. With the Cortina and Escort already household names, Ford saw a gap in the market for the supermini cars. Produced throughout Europe but largely in Ford's Dagenham factory, the Fiesta was deemed Ford's first internationally successful front-wheel drive car. It had a low purchase price and maintenance costs, making it the perfect car for working-class families. As 1983 approached with the launch of the Mk2, Ford had sold over 1 million Fiestas.
Over the proceeding years, the Fiesta continued to evolve both in physical design and mechanical engineering. The 1995-2002 Mk4 took on a sleeker design and the RS Turbo/RS1800 models were replaced by the Zetec S with a 100bhp engine. The Mk4 bears some similarities to the modern day Fiesta, as it was the last model to be produced at the Dagenham factory before it closed down in 2002.
Today, the Mk7 Fiesta originally launched in 2016 quickly became a market leader and one of the best selling cars in the UK. ST and ST Line models sustained the sporty and trendy look desired amongst many younger drivers. The introduction of the EcoBoost engine gave way for an eco-friendly and insurance-friendly engine that was cheap to run yet suitably powerful for motorway driving.
So why, when it has been so popular, stylish, and survived the test of time, have Ford decided to scrap the Ford Fiesta?
Out with the old, in with the new
By 2024, Ford plan to be producing and selling nine brand new all-electric cars as the world moves towards a green future. In December 2022, Ford told Autocar that the reason for scrapping the famous Fiesta was simply because they needed room in their factories for these new cars to be produced. Of the new cars planned, the Ford Explorer, an electric SUV, was key in the decision to dropping the Fiesta from Ford's line up. Ford have said that the production plant that was used to build the Fiesta will now be a plant to produce the batteries for the electric vehicles.
Fiesta production was hit hard during the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent shortage of semiconductor microchips that followed; in June 2022, production of the Fiesta was paused altogether due to the shortage of said chips, sparking a 6 month back log in production. At the same time, the popularity of the Ford Puma was rapidly gaining traction and as seen by many as the replacement of the Fiesta in the shape of a mini SUV crossover.
Interesting times are ahead for Ford, especially as there are plans to also halt production of the Focus by 2025.
As the final Ford Fiesta rolled off of the production line, all of the members of staff who had worked on its production commemorated the car by signing it. A fitting memorial to a world-famous piece of automotive history.