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Desiring a downshift in the size of your car? The editors of the British car buying website What Car? have decided that what you really need is a Ford Fiesta. The small car, specifically the Ford Fiesta 1.25i Zetec model, was named the Car Of The Year by What Car? editors. This version has the smallest engine available in a Fiesta in the UK, and made a positive impact on the reviewers at Autocar as well. What Car? pointed out that the Fiesta's low fuel consumption was one of the reasons to like this car. Ford has already sold more than 61,000 units in the 19 European markets where the Fiesta is currently available. China will get the car next, in both five-door hatchback and four-door sedan versions, later this quarter.

Because the Fiesta is intended for a global release, Americans can look forward to driving something similar to the 1.25i Zetec version here in the coming years. When it comes to the U.S. in 2010, the Fiesta should get Ford's new PowerShift dual clutch gearbox. There's more after the jump.


[Source: Ford]

PRESS RELEASE:

FIESTA NAMED "CAR OF THE YEAR" BY WHAT CAR?, BRITAIN'S LEADING SOURCE OF NEW-CAR ADVICE

  • What Car? editors praise Fiesta as "the most complete small car we've ever tested."
  • Award marks another accolade for new Ford Fiesta, the first in a series of fuel-efficient small cars being developed by Ford

BRENTWOOD, UK, Jan. 22, 2009 – What Car? magazine, Great Britain's leading source of new-car advice, has named the new Ford Fiesta 1.25i Zetec its Car of the Year 2009, adding to the growing list of accolades for the new small car that Ford is introducing around the world.

What Car? editors praised the Fiesta for its stylish design, performance and fuel economy. "The Fiesta is the most complete small car we've ever tested – it's practical enough to be used as a family car, fun enough to be used as a sports car and stylish enough to make the right impression. It's also affordable to buy, cheap to run and kind to the planet," said Steve Fowler, editor of What Car?.

Introduced in Europe last fall, the Fiesta is off to a strong sales start in the traditional 19 European markets, where sales topped 61,000 units after slightly more than two months on the market. As soon as the Fiesta went on sale in the UK, it became the best-selling car for both November and December.

Designed and developed in Europe for sale across Ford's global markets, the new Fiesta is the first in a series of new, fuel efficient, small cars developed through Ford's global product development process. Its stylish and dynamic flair combines with all the traditional Ford small car strengths to create a confident, contemporary introduction to the next chapter of the Fiesta story.

Within five years, Ford expects to build about one million vehicles worldwide off of the new global B-car platform, the basis for the new Fiesta.

The Fiesta began production at Ford's Cologne Assembly Plant in Germany last year. Earlier this week, Ford's plant in Valencia, Spain, also began producing the car.

Ford launched Asian production of the Fiesta last week at the state-of-the-art Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Company manufacturing facility in Nanjing, China. The Nanjing plant is making the five-door hatchback and four-door sedan versions of the new global Fiesta for the Chinese market and the vehicles will go on sale later in the first quarter.

Ford's plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico, will build the new Fiesta for the United States and other North American markets. Construction of the integrated stamping facility and retooling of the assembly plant is underway.

In North America, the new small car will be offered in two models: a sporty hatchback and a sedan, beginning in early in 2010.

In accepting the What Car? award, John Fleming, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe, said the magazine's recognition is a sign of more Fiesta success to come. "This is tremendous news for the whole Ford team – the great British public has already made the new Fiesta the UK's best-selling car in the closing months of last year, and this ultimate endorsement by What Car? will drive the new Fiesta to even greater success this year."

What Car? judges also named the Fiesta as the top car in the "supermini" catetory. They praised the new Fiesta inside and out, stating that no other supermini got close to its 'look at me' factor. The delicate curves and sharp edges made it the epitome of the stylish modern supermini.' They also commended the "zingy 1.25-litre engine, nimble handling and strong grip to make it a 'brilliant winner'........"

Adding to the success of Fiesta, the Ford Mondeo won Best Family Car and Best Estate for 2009.

The What Car? Car of the Year 2009 awards are covered in the magazine's February edition, available now. What Car? magazine has helped Britain's car buyers make purchasing decisions for more than 30 years. What Car? also publishes a price guide and operates whatcar.com, the UK's biggest car-buying advice website.

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