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History of the Ford Fiesta

By quite some margin the bestselling car in the UK, the Ford Fiesta has dominated the market with its all-round quality. Economical, extremely safe, and practical in a way that isn’t boring, the Ford Fiesta’s success is well-earned. Here’s a look at the history of this smart hatchback.

Spanish roots

The first Fiesta appeared on the market in the 70s, as affordable cars replaced the smart, sleek models that dominated the sixties. Already leading the market with the Ford Escort, the launch of the smaller Ford Fiesta was seen as a bit of a risk. Made to be built more cheaply and quickly than the other cars in their roster, there was some concern that there wasn’t a demand for another small hatchback.  

These fears proved unfounded, as the Fiesta became an instant success. Named the Ford Fiesta because of the alliteration and the newly-built factory in Spain, the Fiesta first went on sale in the UK in 1977. The model’s success meant that the millionth Fiesta was built in 1979 – just three years after launch.

Early dominance

It wasn’t just in the UK that the car saw success. The Fiesta also cracked the German market, becoming the bestselling car in its class for six years running in the 80s. The popularity saw a range of different engine sizes being launched, with the sportier XR2 1.6 litre-engined model debuting in 1981. 1987 saw a high point in the UK with 187,000 units sold in a single year.

Seven generations of success

The Ford Fiesta is now in its seventh iteration, each one finding success. The only slight stumble was in 1999 with the launch of a “new edge” Fiesta that updated the look and feel without success. Even so, you can still see these distinctive models on the road as they prove to be an affordable first car.

The Ford Fiesta continues to outperform all other cars in and out of its class, not just with sales (over 16 million since 1976), but with reviews and awards too. It’s hard to see any car overtaking the Fiesta to become Britain’s most popular vehicle.


published: 05/09/2017 09:59:10

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