2011 Ford Fiesta Page 1

7.8
Page 1

This is the face of Ford’s future.

For months, we’ve been teased with images of the troubled automaker’s Verve concept. Now, however, we’re getting a look at what Ford’s new global small car really will look like.

If you're set on stylish and small, the 2011 Ford Fiesta might be your only choice, though you might miss the solid, roomy feel of a Fit.

The three-door, shown here, is one of at least three different Verve variants that will begin fanning out to markets around the world, starting next year. European buyers will be offered this and a five-door hatchback, while a four-door sedan version is being styled up forChina and the United States .

There’s also a strong possibility that U.S. buyers could get this three-door, Ford marketing czar Jim Farley tells TheCarConnection.com, based on the results of a series of consumer clinics.

The European introduction is scheduled for later this year, hence Fiesta’s much-heralded reveal at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. Chinawill get its subcompact about a year later, but the American debut is being held back until 2010.

“We need 24 months to figure it out,” concedes Farley, who joined Ford, last year, after a long stint with Toyota. He admits that there is a “thermonuclear war” underway for the hearts, minds and pocketbooks of the young buyers who will make up Fiesta’s core market.

There are several reasons to pay particular attention to Fiesta. For one thing, it marks the beginning of a worldwide transformation at Ford, which will now rely heavily on its European design and engineering operations to help craft its future products. Fiesta will be the first of these global models, though plenty more are in the pipeline.

For buyers, what will matter more is that this won’t be the typical, bare bones subcompact. Ford promises that Fiesta will be a surprisingly lavish and well-equipped model – and for that you should expect to pay at least a modest premium over some of the segment’s truly entry-level offerings. (But, Farley stresses, Fiesta should still come in at a sticker price under that of the bigger Ford Focus.)

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