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Which Fiesta Comes First?

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I wasn't really old enough to remember the first Ford Fiesta that jumped the ocean in the midst of the second 1970s oil shock--at the time, my family was still hip-deep in jade-green Thunderbird vinyl. But Ford's new Fiesta has me interested, if only because it's so close to the stunning Verve concept auto-show crowds applauded in Frankfurt, China and Detroit over the past six months.

Now that Ford's Jim Farley has told TheCarConnection.com that the Fiesta will be coming to the U.S., though, it's time to start armchair-quarterbacking how they should approach the launch of the first subcompact they've designed and sold here in three decades. Farley is famous for launching Toyota's too-clever Scion brand, and when I asked Farley at the Detroit auto show if he was the perfect choice to launch the new small Ford, he laughed it off--but his is clearly the kind of thinking that Ford needs to re-establish itself in the space alongside Honda, Nissan and Toyota.

Farley demurred when asked which version would be slated first for his dealers. But he did admit that sedans and hatchbacks like the Verve concepts that spawned the Fiesta, were natural choices for most markets. But will there be a five-door in the party, or a true two-door coupe? And what about hot-hatch SVT versions? No one's saying yet, but Ford clearly is betting heavily that the Fiesta will restore its European street cred, while also giving winning some fuel-economy favor with the most frugal shoppers here in America. And you don't have to look too far from the concepts to see how easily a full lineup of Fiestas could be derived from Ford's vast global parts bin.

Stick with us as we report from the Geneva auto show and spill the remaining details on the Fiesta. But while you wait for the Swiss show in March, let us know which Fiesta body style you want to see take on Chevy's Aveo, Toyota's Yaris and the Honda Fit.

2010 Ford Fiesta Preview--the story so far at TheCarConnection.com
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