Little comment on Fiesta’s NZ chances

Is this our next Fiesta? It seemed a simple enough question …


LOCAL market potential for a new Fiesta small hatchback just revealed in Europe is being detuned by Ford here.

Ford New Zealand is steering clear of providing a clear answer when asked about the new model’s chances of local delivery, saying simply that for now the model that debuted in Germany yesterday is for select markets on the other side of the world and that it will offer more comment when the time is right.

What’s further muddying this matter is suggestion, not from New Zealand but out of Australia, that the brand’s ‘One Ford’ policy of providing a single model for global consumption has been diluted by Dearborn.

There’s no going back to the days of wholly different cars for different places, but there is apparent prospect for a common product being adapted enough to be more singularly suited for specific zones.

That could be the case with the Fiesta, which in its current and previous iterations has been the same car around the world – even though ours, with exception of the German-built ST, come from Thailand - but if so, no-one is caring to offer official thought one way or the other.

Ford New Zealand Government and corporate affairs spokesman Tom Clancy was giving nothing away when approached for comment.

His sole response to questions about the potential for this Fiesta being ours in the future and, if so, when it might launch here came down to a response that echoed, word for word, one given by his Ford Australia equivalent to media across the Tasman.

“Ford has introduced (this) next-generation Fiesta for Europe and Middle East and Africa.

“Customer demand for small vehicles continues to grow globally, and Fiesta is an important part of the Ford portfolio. Ford is talking about the new Fiesta for Europe and Middle East and Africa. Ford will have more to say about other markets at a later date.”

The only certainty is that, if usual product life cycles are to be respected, then the current car is, after years’ sale, due to be replaced.

The new model, as presented at a 'GoFurther' event in Germany alongside a number of special-edition Mustang and Transit Custom models, has gone more upscale and adds advanced safety equipment. Industry observers say this is to improve the car's profitability and competitiveness in a segment that is highly competitive in Europe.

The viewing event showed the car in four distinct versions, all set to go on sale in Europe next year.

These are an ST-Line, which could replace the existing Fiesta Sport, a new Vignale flagship sitting above the Titanium grade that traditionally is the top spec for European Ford product here and a new 'Active' crossover derivative.

Believed to be based on the existing Fiesta platform, the new models come with new exterior sheetmetal and a redesigned interior featuring a new 8.0-inch floating high-definition touch-screen.

The line has Ford's latest SYNC 3 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and the company says the new Fiesta will be its first model to bring a premium sound system from Bang and Olufsen.

Apart from Rayong in Thailand and Cologne in Germany, Ford also produces the Fiesta at Valencia in Spain, Cuautitlàn in Mexico, Sao Bernado in Brazil, Chelny in Russia and Hanoi in Vietnam.

Ford Europe boss Jim Farley says the four distinct versions serve as an indication of how far Ford can diversify its big-selling small car and also are to signal intent to enhance the car’s emotional appeal.