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Cologne, Germany -– The all-new Ford Fiesta is set to provide a powerful boost to Ford's business success in Europe. The 5 door Fiesta that will make its public debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September will be the first of a range of four all-new small vehicles to be introduced by Ford over the next 18 months. Fiesta will complete the new model line up for Ford in all the volume vehicle segments when it reaches dealer showrooms in the first quarter next year. <P>"Small cars are crucial to the success of any volume car manufacturer in Europe," said David Thursfield, Chairman, President and CEO Ford of Europe. "They are sold to a more diverse range of customers than any other vehicle segment and are the foundation for establishing customer reputation and the appeal of the rest of the product range." <BR>With new Mondeo sales across Europe up 61.5% through July, Focus established as the world's best selling car and Transit sales breaking records, the new Fiesta will further improve Ford's European market share. Ford earned an 8.7% share of the European market in the first seven months of the year, compared to 8.2% in the same period last year. This Ford growth is against a background of a 3% decline in the industry. <P>Ford's transformation in Europe has been driven by an unprecedented investment in new product. The company plans 45 new product actions over the 5 year period to 2005 - triple the pace of any previous 5 year period – and the average age of Ford's model range will decrease from 5.4 years to 2.9 years over the same period. <P>Ford's major emphasis on driving quality along with contemporary styling and features has dramatically enhanced the reputation of Ford cars and trucks in Europe, pushing up both sales and residual values and adding strongly to the image of the brand. Transit is Europe's Van of the Year and the new Mondeo and Focus have won a total of 80 awards between them. <BR>?<P>The growing market for small cars could reach 5.5 million units in Europe through the cycle time for the Fiesta range. That includes 3.7 million units for the B-car segment. The small car segment comprises a wide variety of customers, including those who want a family car and those needing a second or even third vehicle, often for children who are still at home. <P>The launch of Fiesta also marks a significant step in Ford of Europe's aggressive manufacturing strategy. $500 million has been invested in a complete refurbishment of the Fiesta plant in Cologne, making it one of the most modern automotive manufacturing plants in Europe. The focus of the renovation is on flexibility, with equipment having the capability of not only building different versions of the new Fiesta, but future models as well, thereby reducing overall model costs. The new production facilities, revised work arrangements and modern logistics systems at the plant will ensure that the Fiesta is built superbly and delivered faster to the customer. <P>Volume production of the new Fiesta will mark the latest phase of the restructuring programme for Ford's manufacturing operations in Europe, announced in May 2000. Capacity utilisation will rise from 71% in 1999 to close to 100% by the first quarter 2002, with the benefits flowing through into improved business performance. <P>"With our plants full and producing vehicles that are in strong demand, we can expect to see a continued improvement in our business performance. The product led transformation that we have put in place is paying dividends and the new Fiesta is a major landmark in delivering that transformation," said David Thursfield. <BR>?<P>[SOURCE: Ford Motor Company]
 

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I like the interior on that car. The Ford new edge styling doesn't do much, but otherwise, I like it. <P>If Volvo did a 20 series (would it be an H20?), it would be entering a tough market. The A-class is a good car, and the Audi A2 is all aluminum isn't it? That's a tough act to follow, but it looks like the European market at least is headed towards premium cars in the lower segments.
 
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