Ford Motor Co.'s Fiesta is in a traditionally low-margin segment but profits are being boosted by consumers opting for the higher-end versions of the new small car. Last Wednesday, company officials revealed details about early US sales. The basic Fiesta S sedan accounts for only 7% of Ford Fiesta's US sales since the subcompact debuted in showrooms last June.
According to Sam De La Garza, brand manager for Fiesta, Ford had predicted that 15% of buyers would choose the basic Fiesta S sedan. De La Garza said that US Fiesta buyers, including first-time new car buyers in their 20s, look for more expensive features even in the lower end of the vehicle price spectrum.
The 2011 Fiesta marks Ford's return to the US subcompact market after having been absent for about 30 years. De La Garza said that Ford had allowed automakers like Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co. to dominate in the US small car market.
The profits reaped from Fiesta and the newly designed and the Focus sedan mean that Ford has made a good bet in focusing on smaller cars after years of relying on pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles in its domestic market. The Fiesta was first launched in Europe and Asia. The Focus and Fiesta are indicative of Ford's move toward shared global platform production strategy.
De La Garza said that in the first quarter of retail US sales, Ford was able to sell 7,692 Fiesta sedans and hatchbacks.
De La Garza added that Ford is pleased about being able to appeal to more “millenials” -- consumers born from 1979 to 1994. Ford thinks that the Fiesta will attract new buyers, especially entry-level buyers, who are looking for lower prices and better fuel economy.
Ford claims that the US version of Fiesta returns 40 miles per gallon of gasoline. The basic Fiesta S sedan has a price tag of $13,995 including transport charges, compared with $14,995 for the Fiesta SE sedan and $16,995 for the Fiesta SEL sedan. The SE hatchback version is priced at $15,795 and the SES hatchback sells at $17,795. [via autonews - sub. required]