Fiesta Time as Ford Slashes List Prices
It's fiesta time in the new car market this week as Ford implements sweeping price cuts across its range, echoing a move first applied to the Mondeo, S-Max, and Galaxy in April.
So what does it mean for car buyers in the UK? Maybe not as much as they would like to think as September and the new 60 registration plates approach.
However, if you are one of life's failures in Moroccan bazaars and have never haggled for a wife, camel, or carpet then Ford's move will appeal to you. At a stroke, the list price a dealer will be asking you to pay is reduced, nil effort from you and a seemingly big result.
But the reality is that some Ford dealers have been beating the previous list prices by more than the new reductions Ford is applying, so maybe it's a bit smoke and mirrors. What it does mean is that Ford's cars, loved by enthusiastic drivers all over the UK, now look more competitive when you start your car search by comparing prices from different makers, some of whom would never have given you a discount.
I spoke to Tom Croft, group sales manager at Foray Motor Group, parent company of Andover Ford, and he told me that he was beating the new Ford prices before they were announced. He plans to carry on offering much of the same, and having looked at his website and those of car brokers there's not much difference. The advantage to you is that you have a relationship with your local dealer instead of being an anonymous email or phone number in some distant showroom.
To prove to me how good the latest Fords are, he suggested I should try the Fiesta Titanium 1.6 petrol. The Fiesta has been around for two years this autumn and became the best-selling car in the UK the month after it launched.
The Fiesta Titanium 1.6 previously listed at £15,945 and even at that level had plenty of appeal. A Foray dealership recently sold one to the owner of a three year old, 15,000 mile Mercedes C Class, so you can see how convincing the Ford is on the equipment front.
It's also pretty good from virtually every other point of view. It drives superbly and is great fun. The1.6 litre engine makes it feel vigorous - if you don't need that you can save a few hundred pounds by opting for the 1.4 petrol instead.
Some people will ask if they should go diesel, but diesel fuel is now expensive and opting for a diesel engine adds about £700 to this Fiesta. The petrol car averages 47 mpg with no trouble at all and avoids having to use the smelly black handle on the fuel pumps when you can have that cleaner green one instead.
It may be two years old now but the Fiesta's styling is as fresh as ever. The car has no competitors that beat it for looks, and this applies whether you have the five door or save £300 with the three door. To my mind, the extra practicality of the five door is more than worth the difference.
Unlike some cars, the Fiesta is not a triumph of styling over substance. It will easily carry four adults or a family of two adults and three children, with the advantage that the outer two rear seats also have Isofix fastenings for child restraint systems. Even with all the seats in place, the easily accessible boot has plenty of luggage space.
The styling does bring real benefits, too. The fascia, for instance, is modern and a lesson in clarity as a result of the thinking that has gone into it.
As an enthusiast for small cars, I was also pleased to find that this one could easily accommodate my 6ft 3in, rather too bulky, frame with considerable ease. The only downside is that I wish the Fiesta came with an auto transmission on the 1.6 engine rather than just the 1.4
A Ford Fiesta was our first new car, 21 years ago, and at that time it was really compact, although still practical.
In many ways, the latest Fiesta takes the place of the old Escort and first generation Focus when you view the accommodation it offers and that's one of the reasons it's doing well, I'm sure, although not the only one by far.
Most of these small Fords are bought by private buyers using their own money, probably rarely through savings and more likely on some form of financial drip feed whether through a bank or directly from Ford Finance. The appeal of the new pricing structure will not be lost on them although with dealer margins eroded to pay for the list price cuts there will be a few salespeople who are less than happy.
A side effect is that depreciation figures for the Fiesta, and other small Fords, will stop looking so dramatic. They are always worked out against list prices, even though few people pay that much for a new car, so don't represent the true value change when a car is three years old. The car's value will be the same at that age, of course, but it will be a higher percentage of the price paid. This will reflect true running costs at comparison sites and make these cars look as affordable to run as they actually are.
Car: Ford Fiesta 1.6 Titanium five door
Does it fit your ego...
0-62 mph: 9.9 secs
Top speed: 120 mph
Bhp: 119 @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 112 lb ft @ 4050 rpm
...and your wallet...
Urban: 35.7 mpg
Extra urban: 61.4 mpg
Combined: 48.7 mpg
CO2 emissions: 134 g/km
Insurance Group: 6
Best bits: looks good; feels good; does you good to drive