Ford is justifiably proud of the sales figures that its new Ka and Fiesta small cars have been able to rack up amidst a struggling global market. These two products have helped the automaker increase its European market share by 0.5 percentage points to 8.8 percent. More importantly, it proves that consumers do want to buy small cars as long as they are stylish, comfortable and modern. Legislation from various governments that promotes the purchase of fuel efficient, low-emission cars has also boosted demand for the two vehicles.
Both models were released late last year to a great deal of fanfare from the European automotive press, and U.S. sales of the new Fiesta are slated for 2010. To keep the hype machine in top gear, Ford will select 100 individuals in America and plans to give them keys to the Fiesta ahead of its official debut as they take part in the Fiesta Movement program.
In somewhat related news, Ford has also announced its new Product Sustainability Index, a program that looks to improve the environmental, social and economic impact of automobiles through 8 product attributes that it believes are the key sustainability elements of a new vehicle. Click past the break for the full rundown on what goes into the PSI, how it applies to the new Fiesta and why Ford believes it's important.
SMALL WONDERS: NEW FORDS MEET CUSTOMER NEEDS IN CHALLENGING TIMES
COLOGNE, February 18, 2009 – In a global automotive market that is facing challenging times, Ford of Europe's all-new Fiesta and Ka models are connecting with customers and proving that small cars can deliver the same technology, refinement and driving quality as larger vehicles. At the same time these models are offering low levels of fuel consumption, emissions and cost of ownership.
Launched towards the end of 2008, the all-new Ford Fiesta has already made a significant contribution to Ford of Europe's market share improvement. Fiesta's impressive list of awards and accolades include 'Car of the Year' in two major British automotive publications, and has been voted National 'Car of the Year' in Scotland, Croatia, Greece and Ireland. Following nominations from readers of Spain's Car and Driver magazine, Fiesta was given the 'Woman's Car 2009' award.
The new Ford Ka was introduced towards the end of 2008 and in the short period to year-end, Ka sales improved by more than 4,000 units versus 2007.
Where local incentives exist, including lower taxation through enhanced CO2 emissions or scrappage allowances, the new Ka is equally a good buy as it is desirable. Good fuel economy, low insurance ratings and strong residual values mean that many customers can drive away a new Ka with lower monthly payments than the outgoing model.
The new top-of-the-range Titanium series Fiesta and Ka models are proving particularly appealing.
More than 60 per cent of customers ordering a new Ka in January opted for the Titanium model. Many Ka customers are also taking advantage of the Ford Individual vehicle personalisation packs to create a car that meets their exacting specifications with the majority choosing from the variety of alloy wheel styles and orders for the enhanced level Music Pack running at just over 90 per cent.
Similarly, for the new Fiesta, almost 60 per cent of customers have chosen the advanced Titanium model while over 70 per cent have chosen alloy wheels and the leather steering wheel option. Half of the new Fiestas sold to date have been equipped with the optional Bluetooth/USB Connectivity pack.
Strong contributors to market share
Only two months after going on sale in 2008 more than 61,000 new Fiestas had been sold to retail customers. As soon as it went on sale in Britain, it became the best-selling car for both November and December.
This performance has helped expand Ford's total market share in the Euro 19 markets. By the time 2008 drew to a close the all-new Ka and Fiesta models contributed to an overall increase in European market share of 0.5 percentage points to 8.8 per cent, making Ford the second-best selling brand in Europe.
"The current Ford of Europe range of vehicles is probably our strongest product line-up ever. Our long-standing strengths of driving dynamics, safety and value, combined with the high level of style and emotional appeal that has been injected into the range mean that we are in a strong position to see us through these challenging times," said Ingvar Sviggum, Vice President, Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford of Europe. "The latest sales figures for Ka and Fiesta show that Ford continues to out-perform the industry with consistent market share growth as customers recognise that they don't have to sacrifice comfort or technology when choosing a cost efficient smaller car."
The global introduction of Fiesta progressed further when production for the Asia Pacific region began in January. New Fiesta is being manufactured at the state-of-the-art Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Company facility in Nanjing, China.
All-new Fiesta's arrival in the US in 2010 is eagerly awaited. For the first time, Ford has selected 100 tech-savvy US car enthusiasts to drive a Fiesta and then communicate their experiences through social media sites such as Facebook, FlickR and YouTube. Coverage from this new media will be unique and unfiltered.
"Ford is the first vehicle manufacturer to take this initiative in the US and we have high expectations for the additional positive contribution it will make for people researching their new car choice," explains Sviggum.
In Europe too, Ka and Fiesta have been marketed in a new way. When Fiesta production started at Ford's Cologne plant last year it was celebrated online with the 'Fiesta Love Factory', which set out to demonstrate the care and attention lavished on each and every Fiesta as it made its way down the production line.
The new Ford Ka made its big screen debut in a cameo role in the latest James Bond film Quantum of Solace, and the Ka's pan-European advertising campaign has challenged television and online viewers to "Go Find It" and discover a number of hidden vehicles.
"The online activity for Ka and Fiesta are in addition to the conventional Ford websites, brochures and face-to-face dialogue through the dealer network. We want to engage fully with all of our potential customers in ways that are stimulating to them and the www.gofindit.net website for Ka and Fiesta Love Factory initiative are new and exciting ways for us to reach car buyers who choose their vehicles in a non-traditional way."
Selected models from the new Ford Ka and Ford Fiesta ranges will take centre stage on the Ford stand at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show.
Ford Fiesta – exemplary IMPLEMENTATION of environmental sustainability Ethos
* Product Sustainability Index (PSI) groundbreaking approach turns sustainability vision into reality
* Ford Fiesta interior is Allergy Certified
* Ford Fiesta ECOnetic with CO2 emissions of just 98g/km
* Cologne production plant and Dagenham diesel engine plant powered by renewable energy
COLOGNE, February 18, 2009 – Ford is committed to continue making mobility more sustainable and in Europe the company shows how sustainability can be integrated into all processes to create mainstream products for the benefit of customers and the environment. The new Ford Fiesta, showcased at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, exemplifies this approach.
Product Sustainability Index
Ford of Europe's ground-breaking Product Sustainability Index (PSI) is the automotive industry's most comprehensive approach yet in assessing how the environmental, social and economic impact of vehicles can be addressed. It demonstrates how committed and serious Ford is to take a leading role in addressing these issues.
"Most of our current vehicles are already developed with PSI in mind, and all future Ford vehicles will also use this core approach. It shows that Ford is committed and will continue to share in its contribution to make mobility more sustainable," said John Fleming, Chairman and CEO Ford of Europe.
Ford's PSI tracks eight product attributes identified as key sustainability elements of a vehicle. These are:
* life cycle global warming potential (mainly carbon dioxide emissions)
* life cycle air quality potential (other air emissions)
* the use of sustainable materials (recycled and renewable materials)
* substance management (including TÜV allergy-tested interior certification)
* exterior noise impact (drive-by noise)
* safety (for occupants and pedestrians)
* mobility capability (seat and luggage capacity relative to vehicle size)
* life cycle ownership costs (full costs for the customer over the first three years)
These metrics echo the multi-dimensional nature of sustainability and Ford's holistic approach. The PSI provides a basis for permanent evaluation and improved sustainability performance for new generations of vehicles. Consequently, the Ford Fiesta shows improved PSI performance versus its predecessor.
For instance, more recycled and renewable materials have been used for the Fiesta. At the same time as safety performance has been improved, life cycle air emissions and life cycle cost of ownership have been reduced.
The Fiesta has also been awarded the TÜV Rhineland Group's "Allergy-Tested Interior" seal of approval, following in the footsteps of the Ford Focus, C-MAX, Kuga, Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy.
The TÜV is an independent, authoritative German testing and assessment organisation that controls and certifies quality standards for industrial and consumer products. TÜV certification assures a vehicle's interior materials are selected in order to minimise the allergy risk to the lowest possible level.
For a company to receive the award, TÜV experts must certify that the car's interior materials were selected in order to reduce the risk of allergic reaction to the lowest possible level. Ford is the first manufacturer to offer vehicles that have received this TÜV certification and plans to get as many existing and future models as possible similarly certified.
The latest addition to the Fiesta range is the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic with benchmark setting CO2 emissions, it is now available across Europe. Powered by a specially-calibrated version of the 90 PS 1.6-litre Duratorq TDCi engine, combined with coated Diesel Particulate Filter (cDPF), Ford's most economical Fiesta can travel 100 kilometres using just 3.7 litres of fuel*, on the EC Combined Cycle. This impressive fuel economy is matched with a class-leading CO2 output of 98 grams per kilometre.
This demonstrates that very favourable fuel consumption levels and significantly reduced CO2 emissions can both be achieved using conventional drive technology, coupled with a clever combination of individual, fuel-saving measures. In addition to the frugal Fiesta ECOnetic, all other Fiesta diesel models have figures below
120 gram CO2 per kilometre.
Manufacturing CO2 footprint
Sustainability has influenced not only the new Fiesta's development, but also the facilities behind its manufacture. Ford's Dagenham Diesel Centre in Britain produces Duratorq TDCi engines for the Fiesta and, with two dedicated wind turbines on site and a third planned, receives all its electricity from renewable sources.
Ford is also sourcing renewable electricity to cover the full electric power demand of its Fiesta manufacturing and engineering facilities in Cologne, Germany. Through this initiative, the company will reduce its CO2 emissions by 190,000 tonnes per year.
Dr Wolfgang Schneider, Ford of Europe Vice President for Legal, Governmental and Environmental Affairs said: "The new Fiesta is the strongest example yet of Ford of Europe's commitment to, and investment in, sustainable mobility. Fiesta ECOnetic is a compelling, stylish yet no-compromise choice for customers, offering class-leading low CO2 and genuine savings, while also benefitting from our investment in efficient production facilities."
*Note: Fuel economy figures quoted are based on the European Fuel Economy Directive
EU 80/1268/EEC and will differ from fuel economy drive cycle results in other regions of the world