1 It has to shi 120,000 units

CAR (UK) - - Analysis -

THE FI­ESTA IS a mas­sive deal. The old one wasn’t only Ford’s best sell­ing car, it was the best sell­ing car in the UK full stop, top­ping the charts ev­ery year from 2009 right up to 2016, by which time we’d al­ready seen this car, its suc­ces­sor.

In 2016, de­spite be­ing pen­sion­able in dog years, the Fi­esta still racked up 120,525 UK sales. Com­pare that with a pid­dly 77,110 for the sec­ond-place Vaux­hall Corsa, and a mere 54,448 for the next su­per­mini to make the top 10, the Volk­swa­gen Polo, way down in sev­enth.

And if that abil­ity to hold firm isn’t al­ready im­pres­sive enough, get a load of this: in March of this year, with the Fi­esta Mk7 al­ready three feet down into its grave, sales across Europe ac­tu­ally im­proved by 12% over the same month the year be­fore. Even al­low­ing for dis­count­ing to clear stock, that’s some achieve­ment. And from Ford’s point of view, the great news is that al­most 70% of those re­cent sales were of high-spec­i­fi­ca­tion, and there­fore higher-mar­gin, mod­els. The Fi­esta might look like a cheap car, but it’s also a prof­itable one.

All of which sounds like a very rosy pic­ture, and one that has you won­der­ing if Ford could have kept churn­ing out the old car for a few more years.

But the truth is that in other mar­kets the Fi­esta has been fall­ing des­per­ately be­hind the ever im­prov­ing and ex­pand­ing com­pe­ti­tion. The sev­enth-gen­er­a­tion car was de­signed as a global model, head­ing be­yond Europe to other re­gions, in­clud­ing China, and also the US, which hadn’t seen a Fi­esta since 1980. The US mar­ket for this style of car is smaller than the UK, but still im­por­tant. And last year Fi­esta sales in the States were down 24 per cent. The new one has to do some­thing spe­cial to re­verse that trend.

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