Ford Fiesta in London

We may regard Ford as an American automaker, but ask a Brit and they may tell you otherwise. The Blue Oval has, after all, been selling cars in the UK since 1903, and started manufacturing there as far back as 1911 when it began local production of the Model T in Manchester. Last year Ford ended 100 years of vehicle manufacturing in the UK when the last Transit van rolled off the assembly line in Southampton, but it's still the biggest-selling automotive marque in Britain.

Ford has led the British market for 34 out of the past 45 years, selling more Fiestas than any other company sells any other car in the UK since 2009... when it overtook the Focus. In fact the Fiesta has now become the best-selling car in British history, topping 4,115,000 units since its introduction in 1976. The previous record was held by – you guessed it – another Ford: the Escort sold 4,105,961 units over the course of its 32 years on the British market.

Although the Fiesta is no longer manufactured in the UK (previous versions having been built at Dagenham until 2002), engines are: the EcoBoost line was developed at the company's R&D center in Essex and are built at the factory in Dunton, while its diesel engines were developed at Dagenham in East London. Even the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine in the Fiesta ST is built in South Wales.
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FORD FIESTA BECOMES BEST-SELLING UK CAR OF ALL TIME

- Ford Fiesta ranks as the UK's best-selling vehicle ever in the UK, exceeding 4,115,00 sales since 1976
- Fiesta now overtakes the Ford Escort, the previous record holder, with 4,105,961 registrations
- Ford celebrates Fiesta's sales success at the Commonwealth Games starting today, where it is official vehicle sponsor

BRENTWOOD, Essex, 23 July 2014 – The Ford Fiesta became the UK's best-selling vehicle nameplate of all time this month when total sales topped 4,115,000.

First launched in 1976, the Fiesta has led the small car segment in the UK for 27 of the 37 years and has been Britain's best-selling car since 2009 when it overtook the Ford Focus.

This month it surpassed the historic record of the Ford Escort which sold 4,105,961 in the 32 years it was on sale in the UK from 1968 through to 2000.

Ford has added its cherished "FMC1" registration to a Fiesta destined for Scotland for the Commonwealth Games to mark the UK favourite's landmark achievement. Netball competitor Sasha Corbin, one of Ford's athlete ambassadors, chose a Ford Fiesta for the Games – one of the 1,120 Fords supporting the event in Scotland this month.

Mark Ovenden, Ford Britain chairman and managing director, said: "The Ford Fiesta has gone from strength to strength and today's car combines style, value, driving dynamics and remarkable technologies such as the multi-award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine. It continues to outsell its nearest retail competitor by more than two to one – and that really tells the story of this extraordinary car."

UK-based engineers at Ford's research and development centre at Dunton, in Essex, and at Ford's Dagenham Diesel Centre, in East London, develop all powertrains for the Ford Fiesta. Dunton Technical Centre is home to Ford's latest technical masterpiece – the EcoBoost range, including the 1.0-litre named International Engine of the Year for an unprecedented third consecutive year. The 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine that powers the hot Fiesta ST is manufactured at the Bridgend Engine Plant, South Wales.

Dagenham Diesel Centre specialises in the engineering and production of high-tech, low CO2 diesel engines for virtually all of Ford's line-up of cars and commercial vehicles, across Europe and beyond, including the new 1.5-litre TDCi diesel for Fiesta.

Technical progress since the original Fiesta was introduced is a step-change. For example, it would now take more than 80 modern-day Fiestas to generate the NOx emissions of a single 1976 Mk1 model. This first-generation Fiesta, with the 46PS four-cylinder 950cc petrol engine, weighed around 800kg and achieved 37.7mpg, with CO2 emissions of almost 150g/km. Today's fully-equipped model, with the 1.0-litre 100PS EcoBoost engine, weighs nearly 1,100kg, yet boasts a combined fuel economy of 65.7mpg and just 99g/km CO2 emissions.

More than 40 per cent of Fiesta buyers in the UK today choose the turbo-charged 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, and almost 90 per cent opt for higher level specification – Zetec, Zetec S, Titanium, Titanium X and ST models with the Ford SYNC voice-controlled connectivity system.

The most popular Ford Fiesta series in Britain is the Zetec, priced at £12,945, and features MyKey (limiting vehicle speed and audio volume for novice drivers), radio/CD with USB connection, remote central locking, electrically operated front windows, electrically operated and heated door mirrors, air conditioning, Hill Launch Assist, seven airbags, Electronic Stability Programme and headlight courtesy delay.