The latest ford fiesta is the live aid of new cars launches in Beijing, Bristol, North America and Asia. Ford is suffering back home in the world richest economy, where it lost $1.3 billion in the last financial quarter. American punters are running into the arms of foreign brands, and ditching fords profitable truck lines due to the soaring cost of fuel. Throw in excess plant capacity, massive burden paying staff pension and healthcare costs, rising raw material prices and an economic downtown deterring new cars buyers, and you have a world of pain for every car makers, but Detroit’s Big three in particular. The answer is ‘one ford’, according to company president Alan mulally. Out with exotic distractions like Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover, leaving executives to focus on creating cars that are smash hits around the world. Economics of the scale go up, costs and complexity go down and ford staggers back from the brick as the global plan is rolled out to the next generation Focus and Mendeo. The strategy starts here, with MK6 Fiesta. Legend has it that Mulally, fresh at ford having restructured Boeing Commercial Airplanes saw the development the fiesta and asked when it would reach the US market. Cue some embarrassed shuffling among the suits and a new vision for the company with Europe anointed small cars leaders and told to take the fiesta to the world.
Car run an early MK2 Focus powered by this engine, with variable camshaft timing to optimize economy and power output, but it had a frustrating, peaky character. The engine is transformed for the fiesta. It revs sweetly, delivering a constant rush of tongue peaking at 112lb ft at 4050rpm, and with a spiky engine note. It’s peach: smooth and pretty brisk, although you won’t exactly feel pinned back in your seat – 0-62mph takes 9.9sec. So, as Bob Geldof would have it, should you give Ford your focking money? Well, you will be doing your bit for a charity case, while getting something very special in return. Rather like Aid.