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The Ford Fiesta is a subcompact car manufactured by Ford since 1976, lasting seven generations. The Fiesta has been manufactured in Europe, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, China, India, Taiwan, Thailand, and South Africa.
In 2010, the sixth generation Fiesta (Mark VI) was introduced worldwide, making it the first Fiesta model to be sold in North America since the Fiesta Mark I was discontinued at the end of 1980.
The Fiesta was originally developed under the project name “Bobcat” (not to be confused with the subsequent rebadged Mercury variant of the Ford Pinto) and approved for development by Henry Ford II in September 1972, just after the launch of two comparable cars – the Fiat 127 and Renault 5. The Fiesta was an all new car in the supermini segment, and was the smallest car made by Ford. Development targets indicated a production cost US$100 less than the current Escort.The car was to have a wheelbase longer than that of the Fiat 127, but with overall length shorter than that of Ford’s Escort. The final proposal was developed byTom Tjaarda at Ghia. The project was approved for production in late 1973, with Ford’s engineering centres in Cologne and Dunton (Essex) collaborating.
Ford estimated that 500,000 Fiestas a year would be produced, and built an all-new factory near Valencia, Spain; a trans-axle factory near Bordeaux, France; factory extensions for the assembly plants in Dagenham, UK. Final assembly also took place in Valencia.
The name Fiesta (meaning “party” in Spanish) belonged to General Motors, used as a trim level on Oldsmobile estate models, when the car was designed and was freely given for Ford to use on their new B-class car. After years of speculation by the motoring press about Ford’s new car, it was subject to a succession of carefully crafted press leaks from the end of 1975. A Fiesta was on display at the Le Mans 24 Hour Race in June 1976, and the car went on sale in France and Germany in September 1976; to the frustration of UK dealerships, right hand drive versions only began to appear in January 1977. Its initial competitors in Europe, apart from the Fiat 127 and Renault 5, included the Volkswagen Polo and Vauxhall Chevette. Chrysler UK were also about to launch the Sunbeam by this stage, andBritish Leyland was working on a new supermini which was launched as the Austin Metro in 1980.
The sixth generation, or Ford Fiesta Mark VI, was shown in concept form as the Ford Verve at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2007 and marketed in principal European markets, Australia and the United States. This model is based on Ford’s new global B-car platform. The sixth generation is known as Mark VII in the United Kingdom. Production started at Ford’s Cologne plant in Germany in August 2008. A second plant in Valencia, Spain started production in early 2009. Productions in China, Thailand and Mexico started from late 2008 to 2010. In Brazil the production of the hatch version started in the end of 2012, in São Bernardo do Campo in São Paulo. Soon, the saloon version will be produced in the same place.
A saloon version was launched in November 2008 at the Guangzhou Auto Show. It started sales the following year in China and from 2010 it became available across Asia and North America. It is not marketed in Europe.