Click above for a high-res gallery of the Ford Fiesta
Well, now we know what the competition is. Earlier this week, Ford stopped taking applications for the Fiesta Movement project, and we were one of the applicants. Turns out, there were 3,300 other people or groups who want one of the 100 Fiestas that Ford is giving away (for six months). 140 of these cars arrived in the U.S. today (they were put together in Cologne, Germany). The Fiesta doesn't go on sale in America until early next year, but the car is currently the No. 2 selling car in Europe and is doing well in Asia, Ford says.
What's interesting is that the Fiesta Movement vehicles are Euro-spec models that Ford needed special permission from the EPA for to let Americans drive. The German-language instrument panel bits were translated into English and the cars talk miles instead of kilometers. Ford will weed through the 3,300 applications to find the 100 Fiesta Movement agents by late spring. May we suggest they ease their load a little by setting our application aside and just looking for 99 more?
FIESTA MOVEMENT REACHES U.S. SHORES; FORD'S NEW SMALL CAR DEFIES DOWNTURN IN EUROPE AND ASIA
Over 140 Ford Fiestas from Ford's Cologne Assembly Plant in Europe, arrived on U.S. shores this week as Ford continues to build awareness for their new small car through the Fiesta Movement.
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* U.S. consumers one step closer to experiencing the Ford Fiesta with arrival of European-specification "Fiesta Movement" vehicles at ports in Baltimore and Oxnard, Calif.
* More than 3,300 Fiesta Movement "agent" applications received and total views of video submissions on YouTube exceed 580,000
* The new Fiesta already is the No. 2 selling car in Europe and is on track for its best sales month yet in March. Early Fiesta sales in China and other Asia-Pacific markets are exceeding expectations
DEARBORN, Mich., March 26, 2009 – The arrival today on U.S. shores of 100 new Ford Fiestas marks an important step in the rollout of the first of Ford Motor Company's new generation of global small cars.
The European-built Fiestas arrived today at seaports in Baltimore and Oxnard, Calif., and will be loaned for six months to 100 young trendsetters chosen from more than 3,300 applicants as part of the "Fiesta Movement." Those picked to drive the European Fiesta will share their experiences online through social media sites such as Facebook, Flickr and YouTube to build buzz and anticipation for the vehicle's North American launch early next year.
The Fiesta already is a hit in Europe and Asia, where it went on sale last year and earlier this year, respectively. The new Fiesta already is the second-best selling vehicle of any make across Ford's 19 major European markets, and is headed for its best month yet in Europe in March. Early response from buyers in China and other Asia-Pacific markets already is outstripping company expectations.
"In the midst of the toughest economy many of us have ever seen, the Fiesta is becoming a legitimate global success story," said Jim Farley, Ford Group Vice President of Marketing and Communications. "The Fiesta Movement is all about introducing a new kind of small car to a new generation of buyers."
The 100 five-door Fiestas coming to the U.S. were built at Ford's Cologne Assembly Plant in Europe. For many U.S. customers, it will be their first chance to see and read about the small car that is one of three finalists for the World Car of the Year award that will be announced next month at the New York International Auto Show.
"We're really excited to be able to get our U.S. customers behind the wheel and experience this car," said Sam De La Garza, small car marketing manager. "It's all part of a plan to build excitement about the new Fiesta with the next generation of Ford customers."
Designed and developed as Ford's first global car, the Fiesta takes the nameplate's three-decade heritage to a new level with its eye-catching kinetic design, widely acclaimed driving dynamics and unexpected refinement.
Before coming to the U.S., special permission was granted by the EPA and the European-spec vehicles were modified for American drivers.
The language in the vehicles' instrument panel message center was changed from German to English and the speedometers were changed from kilometers to miles per hour. The voice piping from the Bluetooth-enabled vehicle, however, retains its British accent. All the Fiesta Movement vehicles feature keyless entry with push-button start, EasyFuel™ Capless Fuel-Filler System, 16" or 17" wheels, and many other features typically found on larger or premium vehicles.
Agents on a mission
Beginning in late spring, the chosen participants, or "Fiesta Movement" agents, will be asked to complete monthly missions in their vehicles, capture their experiences digitally and share them with Ford and others through social networks.
Ford is aiming the Fiesta Movement at Millennials, the next-generation consumer group born between 1979 and 1985 that will total 70 million new drivers in 2010 – the largest class of any generation. Making up 28 percent of the driving age population, the potential size of the market serves as an opportunity for Ford to connect with a group that hasn't yet established brand loyalty and is very connected to the use of technology and social networking.
For Millennials, social media is a part of everyday life. Statistics show that for those born after 1980, 62 percent of the content they consume comes from someone they know personally. The missions will be designed based on monthly themes that will take them to new places, to meet new people and to experience new things in their Fiesta.
Collecting data about how the car performs in the U.S. market is an integral part to the vehicle's launch. With this program, Ford aims to gather valuable customer input on how they perceive the vehicle prior to the next year's North American launch. It's the first opportunity Ford has ever had to get a wealth of feedback so early on prior to launch – unique in content and unfiltered from a multitude of sources.
The movement already is catching on, with more than 3,300 agent applications to the www.fiestamovement.com website and 580,000 views of applicant videos on YouTube.
In Europe, the Fiesta name has long been synonymous with outstanding performance, design and value. The new Ford Fiesta takes that three-decade heritage to a new level with eye-catching styling and exemplary driving dynamics for U.S. consumers.
The vehicle is also winning awards, including being named Car of the Year 2009 by the authoritative What Car? magazine in the U.K. and was awarded a prestigious "red dot" award for international product design.
In 2010, the Fiesta will be produced at plants in Germany, Spain, Mexico, Thailand and China for sale in markets around the world. The Fiesta for the North American market will be built at Ford's assembly plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico.