We all have a Fiesta story. From our favourite first car to trusty city commuter, school-run staple and retirement run-around, generations of UK drivers have sat behind the wheel of this iconic Ford supermini. And with a legacy spanning 22 million models, nine generations and five decades, drivers in the Fiesta family are in good company.
So, Fiesta faithfuls across the globe were stunned to learn that production of this plucky supermini will stop by the end of June 2023, with Ford ramping up its efforts to transition to a fully electric line-up.
The phasing-out of this pivotal Ford model is a sign of the times, but at Hendy, we want to take a moment to reflect on the times we enjoyed in this popular model.
Here, we celebrate the Ford Fiesta story.
Ford have released this #FarewellFiesta video to celebrate the legacy of the Fiesta, starting with the words: ‘Once upon a time there was a car…’. What better way to start a story that has spanned nearly 50 years?
Since 1976, almost five million Fiestas have been sold in the UK, and the model held the UK’s best-selling car title for no less than 12 years running! Not to mention having a raft of awards under its belt.
One reason for this hatchback’s popularity is that it has something to suit every personality and lifestyle. In recent years, this crowd-pleasing clan has included three- and five-door versions, a sporty ST version, an SUV-style Active trim, a van and a mild-hybrid version.
It’s also been a mainstay in popular culture. James Bond lead Roger Moore even posed with a Fiesta while filming 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me – although it was somewhat eclipsed by the film’s major motoring talking point: the aquatic Lotus Espirit. This perhaps sums up the appeal of the Fiesta – it wasn’t boastful or showy, but it worked hard behind the scenes. It was, as the grandad in Ford’s video describes it: “a car for the people”.
At Hendy, the Ford Fiesta has been a firm favourite with our customers and team alike. Our Hendy Performance division even used the souped-up ST version as the basis for several project cars, including the HP200 (based on a 2013 Fiesta ST-2) and the HP300 (based on a 2015 MK7 Fiesta ST-3).
As Britain’s first Ford dealer in 1910 – a relationship that’s spanned over 100 years – we’re sad to see the Fiesta go, but are excited to see Ford’s future take shape.
If you’re looking to get your hands on a new or used Fiesta before production ends, contact your local Hendy Ford today. With locations across the South Coast, our specialist teams are here to help you become a part of the Fiesta story.
The Fiesta was first conceived under the codename of ‘Project Bobcat’. Given the model’s iconic status today, it’s hard to believe that Ford was concerned about whether a car that was smaller than the Escort would sell. But amidst the backdrop of the 1973 oil crisis, small and efficient models like the Fiat 127 and Renault 5 were making big strides. Ford knew it needed to enter the fray.
The first-generation Fiesta went on sale in 1976 and arrived on UK shores in 1977. Much more angular than the Fiesta we see on the roads today, this three-door supermini also came with a 1.0-litre four-cylinder engine and a price-point of just £1,900.
The name ‘Fiesta’ was chosen by Henry Ford II as a nod to Ford’s new connection with Spain, where Ford had set up a new factory to build the new car. Translating as ‘party’, the Fiesta became a celebration of motoring that raged on for almost half a century.
The second-gen Fiesta of 1983 wasn’t a remarkable departure from the Mk1 design, but it was slightly larger and more fuel-efficient. Over the lifespan of this generation, 1.3- and 1.4-litre engines were added to the line-up, widening its appeal. What’s more, 1984’s Fiesta XR2 is still popular amongst retro hot-hatch enthusiasts, thanks to its red stripes, pepperpot alloys and spot lamps.
Hot on its heels came the third generation in 1989. This fresh incarnation of the Fiesta was based on an entirely new platform and featured a more rounded shape. As well as its curves, it also came with a more powerful 1.8-litre diesel engine option and a five-door option for the first time.
The nineties saw a big leap forward in terms of the Fiesta’s under-the-bonnet appeal, with the new free-revving Zetec engines proving popular with drivers of all ages and helping the model become a household name. On the aesthetic front, the fourth generation of 1995 added even more curves.
Since the millennium, we’ve seen three more generations of the Fiesta, including the fifth-gen, which was designed in harmony with the new Ford Focus. But the sixth generation in 2008 is where the Fiesta really hit its stride, becoming the top-selling model for 12 years in a row from 2009 to 2020 and establishing itself as one of the most-loved cars in history.
Based on a concept car, known as the Ford Verve, the 2008 Fiesta was bold and boundless. As proved by Jeremy Clarkson, who ran a ‘Sensible Fiesta Test’ in Top Gear’s 2008 Series 12, which saw the presenter tackle ‘common’ situations, such as being chased through a shopping centre by ‘baddies’ and taking part in a beach assault with the Royal Marines.
With such credentials, it was perhaps little surprise that in 2014, the Fiesta became the best-selling vehicle ever in the UK, usurping the Ford Escort.
The model also saw success on the track, with the Ford Fiesta WRC World Rally Car boasting several podium finishes, including winning the 2017 Monte Carlo Rally on its first outing.
2017 saw the most recent generation of the road-going Fiesta, which came with a gentle facelift from the previous model – but was nonetheless almost unrecognisable from the boxy 1976 entry. Signs of Ford’s upcoming shift towards SUVs were becoming apparent in the new ‘Active’ trim, which included cladding and roof rails.
Looking to buy the latest Ford Fiesta? Look no further than Hendy!
So, after nine generations and almost 50 years of success, the UK’s all-time bestselling car is being confined to motoring legend – the latest signpost of the industry’s move away from internal combustion engines.
But although it’s hard to imagine life without the Fiesta, Ford has big plans for the future and has pledged to introduce three new electric passenger vehicles and four new electric commercial vehicles in Europe by 2024. Find out more about Ford’s current electric line-up here.
So, is the Fiesta story really finished? The communications from Ford certainly seem to suggest so, and the brand has form for ousting popular nameplates, such as the Mondeo. That said, the Puma name has recently returned after a hiatus…
Whether this is truly the end of the Fiesta, or it’s merely taking a siesta – for now, we’ll say this: Thank you…and goodbye.