The Story of the Ford Fiesta

Undoubtedly one of the most important models in the Ford fleet, the Fiesta has been an incredible success since it was first unveiled back in 1976. Noted for its sleek styling, wealth of technology and high practicality, it’s no surprise that it has sold more than 16 million models during a history of nearly four decades. Here is a summary of how this model has become so highly regarded for all new Ford vehicles all across the world.

The first unveiling
Originally developed under the project name ‘bobcat’, the Ford Fiesta mk1 was developed as an affordable model; the original target was for the model to sport a production cost of $100 less than the Escort – a car which had already been established for many years. The stylings of the mk1 Fiesta are strikingly similar to the Fiat 127, a vehicle considered to be a leader in its class at the time. The Fiesta was tested by the Fiat 127’s production team, helping to cut costs while also allowing procedures to go undetected within the motoring industry. It became available to certified Ford dealers across the UK in January 1977, with its instant praise helping it to become recognised as the company’s first globally successful front-drive model.

By 1978, the Ford Fiesta had overtaken the Vauxhall Chevette as Britain’s best-selling supermini. Priced at just £1,856 for the standard 950cc-engined model, its acceptance was clear to see after the millionth model was produced at the firm’s Dagenham factory in 1979.

The second, third and fourth coming
Part of the reason why the Ford Fiesta remained such a popular model in the market is thanks to its continuous adaptation to meet the demands of the consumer. As the years went on, the Fiesta moved away from the defined lines and instead offered a curvier and bolder appearance, with each version bringing with it a host of new technical features to match the aesthetic changes. One of the most high-profile additions was the new suspension system in the fourth generation (1995-2002), helping it to benefit from one of the best handling abilities in its class.

It was the fourth generation where the Ford Zetec badge was first introduced, with the Zetec and Zetec LX replacing Si and petrol LX models respectively in 1998.

Introducing the ST
While the Ford Fiesta had remained a workhorse for communities across the UK, it soon became apparent that there was a need for a model to appease those who wanted to combine practicality with sublime performance. In 2011, the result was the Fiesta ST, replacing the standard power source with a 2.0L Duratec petrol engine to offer a hair-raising top speed of 129mph. This power was combined with a new-look body, with different front and rear bumpers, side skirts and bump strips helping the model look impressive.

The first Fiesta ST was based on the Mark V, the first to feature the Anti-lock Braking System and passenger airbags as a standard feature. With these great additions, plus a revised styling both inside and out, the Mark V is the best-selling Fiesta generation to date.

Image Credit: Rob Smith (

What the future holds
Now into the sixth generation, the Fiesta has continued to retain its high regard within the motoring industry and was even the best-selling model in the UK in 2013 – a record which it still holds in the monthly category. The new version of the Fiesta ST has also proved popular among performance enthusiasts, so much so that it was given the overall crown of Top Gear’s Car of the Year in 2013.

One exciting version of the Fiesta is the ECOnetic, a model which emits just 98g/km of carbon dioxide thanks to its 1.6 Duratorq TDCi diesel engine. This outstanding rate of emissions means that it is exempt from UK vehicle excise duty. Launched in 2009 and praised for its ability to outperform the Toyota Prius, it shapes Ford’s outlook for a sustainable future across its whole fleet.

This content was written by Ben Edwards. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.