The Circus is Leaving Town

Farewell Fiesta.


When Ford began work on what would become the Bobcat programme in 1969, the small car market had not wholly coalesced around a single format. Even amid the developed nations of Europe, there was no real clarity, although there were vehicles in development, not least in France and Italy which would before long help change that.

The previous year, Ford of Europe had introduced the conventional rear-wheel-drive Escort as its entry level offering, a car which built upon the success of the UK-developed Anglia, offering similar virtues in a more updated, slightly larger, more refined package. However, apart from one or two high-tax markets, the Escort had moved above the Anglia’s one-litre entry point.

Escort’s (slight) shift upmarket was a wholly logical strategic decision at the time, one entirely in keeping with the blue oval’s growth plans. Customers were more affluent and had become more discerning and anyway, Ford did not have a significant presence in mainland European markets like France or Italy, where smaller-engined cars dominated. Vacating the bottom end of the market was likely to have been a temporary matter in the minds of Ford’s European management, but internal politics and cost concerns delayed Dearborn’s hand for a good deal longer than they had hoped.

Nevertheless, when the Fiesta finally entered production in Ford’s Valencia plant in 1976, it not only cleaved faithfully to the now established sub-compact template (three-door hatchback/ transverse powertrain/ front wheel drive) it was a fully realised product, allowing the carmaker to gain a firm toehold in what would become the most competitive sector of the Euro-market. Owing to its up-to-date specification, well-drawn lines, cheery demeanour and the reassurance of the blue oval, the Fiesta was, if not an outright class leader, right up there with them.

Image: autoevolution

Over the intervening 46 years, amid all of its myriad iterations[1], it has remained a European favourite, a ubiquitous piece of our streetscapes. But last week Ford confirmed that the current generation is to be its last, with Fiesta production to cease in June 2023[2]. There are no plans to directly replace it, a decision both shocking, yet at the same time, somewhat predictable.

It has been widely reported in the mainstream auto press that European demand for the model has fallen dramatically, with August 2022 figures quoted by Autocar (and supplied by Jato Dynamics) illustrating a drop of 45% over the same period last year. They also point out that in August alone, Fiesta deliveries fell outside of the top 50 in Europe. But these figures and the statements they underpin present a skewed reading of both Fiesta’s popularity and Ford’s decision.

A great many chickens have been coming home to roost in the mainstream European car market for some time now. Decades of chronic over-capacity have precipitated a race to the bottom on volumes, market share and pricing – with all that this meant for profit margins as factories pumped out cars that were commoditised and sold, barely at cost. This was for many years an issue the industry preferred to swerve. But Ford has perhaps struggled more than most to adjust to changing market realities.

Already reluctant to justify the effort and expense in developing stand-alone European products, the action of arch-rival, General Motors to exit Europe in 2017 seems to have left Ford’s Dearborn masters reeling. The removal of their compatriots from the field of play robbed the blue oval of its touchstone, the primary means through which it defined its success. Now facing a renewed force from the mighty Stellantis group, the strength in depth of Toyota and the seemingly unstoppable rise of KIA/Hyundai, the European market has become an increasingly hostile one.

Image: automobilespec

In addition, customer allegiance has shifted. For decades, Ford occupied a seemingly unassailable UK market position as not only a sound choice, but one which as their advertising once proclaimed, gave you more. Fords majored on well-judged contemporary style, a large choice in powertrains and model hierarchies, and over the last two decades at least, class-leading dynamics. Fiestas were fun, and before the market became skewed by the rise of ‘premium’ brands, relatively classless.

Whether anyone aspires to a Fiesta these days is unclear, but even before the turmoil of 2020, there seemed to be something of the also ran about its current iteration, despite its well-judged styling and across-the-board competence. Of late, there has been a palpable sense that Ford of Europe no longer has its finger on the buyer’s pulse, that brand-Ford itself appears to have lost direction. Worse still, for a model which lacks buyer cachet in the 2022 marketplace, Fiesta is now anything but a cheap car.

Even prior to 2020, Ford’s perennially loss-making European satellite was in difficulty. The Covid pandemic and the semi-conductor shortage which followed may well in the fullness of time be viewed as a watershed for many largescale carmakers, but in Ford’s case it appears to have clearly been an opportunity for a significant reset. As the chip shortage bit hard, Ford, like many rivals shifted production priority to higher margin models[3], so while Fiesta production fell by consequence, the model line’s wafer-thin margins meant that any negative effects on the bottom line were probably minimised. But idling production lines is an expensive business, so something was probably going to have to give eventually.

Image: automobilespec

So, what we have therefore is something of a chicken and egg situation. It is apparent that the blue oval, realising that the now six-year-old Fiesta[4] – falling behind technically, especially in powertrains – was never going to regain the market it has lost. They could have slogged on, pumping them out to fleets or car rental companies, but this makes no commercial sense. But a potentially more compelling factor is a geopolitical one. Currently, carmakers face a supply problem – they have customers but lack the ability to fulfil them. Next year, as inflationary pressures on households and businesses adversely affect spending, the problem will shift to one of demand. With all of this coming down the line, it is likely that Dearborn has elected to take the path of least resistance[5].

Ford’s subcompact rivals have not had such a torrid time – not all of them at least[6]. Across Europe in 2021, Stellantis, Toyota and Renault/Dacia all have made the B-segment work for them, with each being able to field hybrid models, and in the case of Stellantis, EV versions of popular subcompacts. Rivals such as Stellantis, Renault-Dacia-Nissan and the Kia-Hyundai combine can also draw upon massive scale to spread costs. Ford have no such ability, putative EV tie-up with VW notwithstanding[7]. Lacking similar scale or a development partner, they are also far from confident about the ongoing business case for B-segment hatchbacks, even if they had chosen to develop one.

2008 Fiesta. Image: autoevolution

The decision is also entirely in line with the direction of travel for the blue oval in recent years. First, sedans were phased out in the US, swiftly followed by the axing of the Mondeo in Europe. We already know that the C-segment Focus is to die in 2024, to be supplanted by an EV crossover, jointly developed with VW. One by one, Ford’s European platforms and drivetrains are being excised and it is not hard to see where this is leading.

Whatever rationales Ford’s PR employ to positively spin the Fiesta’s demise, one fact is inescapable: this decision was a choice. Ford has concluded that there is no commercial justification in them continuing with an unprofitable model line and would prefer to cut it loose than continue. Of course, as we know, once you vacate a market, you lose it, so Ford are gifting volume and sales to rivals who appear to have contrived to make the numbers work for them. This is clearly a hit they are prepared to take.

For over 22 million[8] people across Europe and elsewhere, over close to fifty years, the Fiesta helped define moments in their lives. The longest running B-segment nameplate in continuous use apart from Volkswagen’s Polo, a car in which generations have passed their driving test, had their first fumbled tryst, endured family holidays; argued, laughed, loved and above all, drove. There are millions of people out there today who have never known a life without a Fiesta in it. They are shortly to find out.

Fiesta is not dying because Europe has fallen out of love with it. They might find it a little dated in aspects, but overall, it remains an attractive and well-wrought product. It is dying because Ford has decided it no longer wants to commit to a European market which is moving in a palpably different direction to that of the US. There is little question now that Ford is looking towards exiting Europe entirely.

When the Bobcat programme was being defined in 1969, Ford’s CEO was to put it mildly, ambivalent about small cars[9]. It was a market that Henry Ford II entered with considerable reluctance. That ambivalence has not dissipated over the decades that followed and given where the blue oval’s product centre of gravity now resides, this could be read as more of a natural resetting of priorities.

The 1976 Fiesta arrived as the subcompact market was defined, both in silhouette and in layout. Over those decades it made a huge commercial and emotional impact across European and worldwide markets. Now as it departs, this market is transitioning fundamentally towards taller-riding[10], predominantly electrified CUV vehicles. Fiesta therefore bookends a more carefree era, now ending. Time therefore to bid a fond farewell to an old friend.

And maybe throw one last party.

More on the Fiesta here.

[1] Argue amongst yourselves as to the number of Fiesta iterations over the years. Opinions vary.

[2] Some reports suggest that production of the Fiesta ST is to continue for another year, or so.

[3] This also has the consequence of making life considerably more complicated for those who rely upon sales figures to help ascertain the relative success or otherwise of certain model lines or sectors. Forecasting is for the birds nowadays.

[4] Many have suggested the current Fiesta is a reskin of the previous generation. It’s a difficult one to argue against and would help explain its inability to be future-proofed.

[5] Ford have also announced the cessation of both Galaxy and S-Max models from their Valencia plant, ironically, Fiesta’s first home. But this kind of rationalisation is not confined to ford. VW have stated that the Audi A1 will not be replaced, nor will Mercedes build a successor to the current A-Class hatch. 

[6] VW’s B-segment offerings have not had a good 2021 either, but then the mothership has had considerably bigger fish to fry.

[7] How successful or long-lasting this tie-up is likely to be remains open to question.

[8] 4.8m of those were sold in the UK, where the Festie was best seller for 12 years running until 2020. Production started in Dagenham in 1977, the last Fiesta being built there in 2002.

[9] “Small cars = small profits”. Henry Ford II.

[10] The B-segment CUV has been the main driver of European sales growth over the past three years or so. (If indeed growth is the correct word in this climate).

Sources: The Guardian/ Autocar/ Automotive News Europe/ Carsalesbase. Thanks too to DTW contributor, Robertas Parazitas.

Author: Eóin Doyle

Co-Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

35 thoughts on “The Circus is Leaving Town”

  1. “Argue amongst yourselves as to the number of Fiesta iterations over the years. Opinions vary.”

    Good morning Eóin and thanks for giving the Fiesta a well deserved send-off. The photos you have chosen to illustrate your piece nicely answers that question, at least from my perspective. Ford has often played fast and loose with mark numbers, but using the criterion of all-new bodywork, there have been five generations of the model, although Ford would claim seven.

    The original Fiesta, shown above in Ghia trim, was a remarkably pretty and pert looking car. Ford was a late entrant into the supermini class, but they nailed the design. Even in poverty-spec trim with non-metallic paint, it looks just right:

    1. It’s no real surprise that the first Fiesta was so well resolved. The lead stylist was the great Tom Tjarda.
      He started his work with Ghia with Innocenti’s version of the Spridget. He then moved to Pininfarina, leaving us the Fiat 124 Spider and Ferrari 330GT. After that a return to Ghia with the Isuzu Bellet, De Tomaso Deauville and Pantera, and starting in 1972 Project Wolf for Ford, which became the ’76 Ford Fiesta, the first generation. As you say, Daniel, he nailed it. As he also did with the Ford Maverick, the Lancia Y10 and the Saab 900 1st gen 4 door.

    2. Hi David, I was unaware that Tom Tjaarda had any connection with the Saab 900, although he is widely credited for the Rayton-Fissore 1982 Saab Viking concept, which IMO is quite far from his best work.

      But it never hurts to gaze upon a Pantera…

      …even with post-1972 U.S. spec bumpers.

      Furthermore, I suspect my heart would melt if I were to actually set eyes upon a Deauville.

    3. The subject of styling attribution is one which is almost limitless in its capacity for misapprehension. Professional motor journalists are not terribly interested in nuance, and so if it is accepted wisdom that for instance, Tom Tjaarda designed the Fiesta, it must be true. From my understanding at the time I wrote a piece profiling the Fiesta (2016), I said the following. “The main styling theme was an amalgam of carrozzeria Ghia’s ‘Wolf’ proposal, styled by Tom Tjaarda combined with elements of rival designs from both Dunton and Cologne studios.”

      I would probably hold to that statement, which is not at all to denigrate the talented Mr. Tjaarda, for it is clear that his work informed the production design to a not inconsiderable degree. But viewing Wolf and Bobcat together, it’s clear they are very different cars.

      gooddog: Like many of his contemporaries, the quality of his work dropped significantly in his later years. It’s very hard to maintain consistent form.

    4. He only worked on the four door Saab, not the three or five doors, looking back, it’s odd that Saab never went ahead with the estate.

      As for the Deauville… what the XJ40 could have been?

    5. Thanks for your reply Eóin, there’s much food for thought in it, for example Alessandro DeTomaso’s colorful history with famous designs and designers where the attribution didn’t always align with the inspiration. That leads to remind me how few postwar designs can truly be called “original” (the DS comes to mind), almost everything we like has been borrowed, inspired, or evolved from something else; and there shouldn’t be any shame, disappointment, or regret attached to that as we are dealing with science as much as art. Most equations have a finite number of correct solutions.

      David Walker re: the XJ40. The Deauville’s nose would seem to benefit from the kind of hand finishing that Jaguar was determined to eliminate. I think of the Deauville more as what Quattroporte II could have been, while the article linked below (and its comment section) examines the direction I wish XJ40 had taken:

  2. The first new car we ever purchased was a Mk 1 Fiesta. 957 cc engine and some Dealer inspired body mods. Our Son and Daughter subsequently owned it until the dreaded rust did for it.
    My wife now has a Mk 7 EcoBoost with a turbo charged 1.0 litre engine and all the modern refinements. How times change…

  3. Hi Eóin, thanks for this party piece… (apologies, I suspect there will be more punning hilarity to follow), or rather: fond farewell. The European market has always been a demanding one: relatively high and unique standards and a lot of competition, but also one of the world’s wealthiest markets. I’ve never driven Fords or been driven in them, my dad not being keen on them. They have, however, been a constant presence and in various iterations of Escort, Focus, Fiesta, Mondeo and others, a welcome addition to the roadscape, including the Fiestas you chose to picture. As you say, this doesn’t only point to Ford leaving Europe (unless, maybe, it can get its EV strategy to work), but also to the broader trend of Ford ceasing to be a car manufacturer and opting to be a truck manufacturer instead.

    The Fiesta had a few iterations of facelift/new model generation (and a Mazda 121) that were lacklustre and the current one seemed to point to a similar trend developing, but now we’ll never know. As I understand it, the Mazda 2 is still largely based on the Fiesta: I wonder what will happen to it. Mazda is headstrong about its market segments (still marketing the 6 in Europe), but I would imagine the writing to be on the wall for the 2 as well.

    In a broader sense, the wholesale adoption of enormously heavy, thirsty (for petrol or electricity) and cumbersome SUVs and the concomitant driving up of the cost of entry to driving a car spells trouble to me. At some point (and with rampant inflation that point will be sooner than people think) it will be prohibitively expensive to buy a new car for the middle classes – the bulk of the market – resulting first in a lot of old bangers being kept on the road (with associated environmental and safety concerns), then to a decline in mobility. Carlos Tavares’ remarks about the cost of the EV tranistion might be slightly too tactical or even strategic, but he does have a point: significant segments of the European economy are dependant on transit – be it goods or workers – being economically viable.

    1. Hi tom, maybe mazda will rebrand a yaris. I believe they are already doing this in Mexico.

    2. That’s good point Marco, thanks! They’re doing it in Europe as well, now that I think about it, with the Mazda 2 Hybrid. I feel a bit silly for not remembering now…

      In terms of influence over their compatriot car industry, Toyota are beginning to look like Fiat: Mazda, Subaru, Daihatsu, Suzuki all have Toyotas in their line up, or share platforms with them. Some of them are already part-owned by Toyota, like Fiat did in Italy. Let’s hope that isn’t a portent of things to come for Toyota… Only Mitsubishi has been subsumed into the Renault Nissan thingy, which has more or less ruled out Nissan of gaining similar influence, since all its efforts are directed at Renault.

    3. With Toyota in Europe, it’s a two-way process. Lots of Stellantis LCVs sold with Toyota badging. Toyota used PSA diesels for a short while, then sold BMW the Yaris diesel, and went on to buy a down-specced 1.6 litre diesel from BMW.

      The ending of the Kolin joint venture with PSA is a disappointment. Regrettably, so is the Aygo Cross they make there. Could it be that Toyota didn’t want to walk away from the plant, and let a Chinese company pick it up for a bargain price?

    4. I personally hate this simple rebranding. C3/208/corsa are the same car but at least they look different. Same thing Polo/Ibiza/Fabia. Japanese are losing touch with the design in europe in my opinion.

    5. Robertas: car manufacturers working together (whether or not openly) form a tangled web… As for the Yaris Cross (which unsurprisingly but disappointingly is selling nicely in the Netherlands), one can only guess at the motivation. Or rather: I can only guess, lacking any kind of inside information. Hyundai/KIA are still active in the segment as well and perhaps Toyota didn’t want to yield all of the market? But your manufacturing plant theory seems likely too.

      Marco: I think that partly, this rebranding spate is the result of unique market conditions in the EU, with punitive taxes on anything that isn’t at least a hybrid. Smaller brands simply lack the funds to develop especially for Europe, so they borrow.

      One could argue (re: Audi, BMW) that the Europeans are losing touch as well… On a more serious note: the Japanese seem to be at the same stage the European brands were a few decades ago when the Japanese began their onslaught, only now it’s Koreans and Chinese who are doing the ‘on-slaughting’. I seem to sense the same uncertainty and lack of direction (also present in the US manufacturers). Look at Honda: it’s on a constant knife’s edge as to whether developing for Europe is worth it or not, in the latter case more familiar (Asian) markets or “easier” ones (the US, some developing nations) get priority. Honda keeps flip-flopping, Daihatsu has already pulled the plug.

  4. Dear Eoin, thank you and dtw for this superb piece. I enjoyed the Fiesta, I liked almost all its iterations during time. I never drove one,my memories are as a passenger only. It happened to be cheerful and sombre depending on how you thought of it, a dual character car. I am not happy with the end of model continuation and do not agree with the potential replacement car.

  5. Thanks Eóin for a fitting Fiesta sendoff. Although the original 1976 car obviously took a bit of inspiration from the Fiat 127, especially in the details, it says something about the Fiesta’s “rightness” that the overall form remained pretty consistent until 2002.

    Perhaps I’m missing something here, but with such an iconic and popular nameplate I don’t understand why Ford wouldn’t brand an eventual semi-replacement EV as Fiesta, or “Fiesta E” or something. Would seem to make more sense than a “Mustang” SUV anyway…

  6. A friend’s parents owned a NA version of that first-gen Fiesta. This must have been around 1979? My friend would borrow the Fiesta, when his own Spitfire was shop-bound for repairs (a frequent occurrence.) Both He and I were committed “sports car nuts”and we had many “youthful adventures” in that willing little Ford. I remember it as a glimmer of light in those grim automotive days of the late 1970’s, here in North America. I seem to remember that we only got that nice European Fiesta for a few years before Dearborn stopped importing them… probably replaced in the product line-up by the NA Ford Escort.

    Like a forgotten friend from childhood, I am sorry to hear of the Fiesta’s pending demise. May she Rest In Peace.

    1. The $/DM exchange rate did in the firstgen Fiesta in the US. During the gas crunch, with the only homegrown small car being the cramped, dated and by then scandal-plagued Pinto (which in 1979-80 was the cheapest new car in America) they could charge a fair premium for a Fiesta that cost more than a loaded Fairmont Futura. But with the modern FWD Escort on tap, offering an automatic option and a four-door model (that the Pinto had also lacked), it was surplus to requirements even before gas got cheap again going into the mid ’80s.

      The second time, even before the Saudis flooded the oil markets c2014-5 to protect their market share, killing the US small-car market stone dead in the process, the Fiesta’s DCT problems on top of being so much more cramped in the same footprint as a Honda Fit, made it a harder sell in the back half of its’ design cycle than it probably should’ve been.

  7. For me the bigger question relates to the apparent inability of US car firms to sell cars at a profit in the EU. Lots of other companies do. From nearly nowhere in 2000 Kia and Hyundai now sell plenty of Fiesta-oid cars for Fiesta prices. Opel quit. Chrysler didn´t really try. Now Ford. It´s not that Ford EU is the problem. I am very sure as an independent entity, the capital and talent of Ford Europe could make profitable desirable cars. Rather, Ford US is inept just as GM US was inept.

    1. It’s not the Koreans that Ford is worried about, it’s the Chinese. They seem able to make Fiesta sized electric cars though whether they are really profitable is perhaps obscured by their ownership layouts.

  8. I’m rather sad about this.

    We’ve had three Fiestas in our family over the years. My uncle replaced his Mk 2 Cortina with a lowly-spec Mk 1 Fiesta. My father had a Mk 2 Fiesta Ghia in the late 1980s and now I drive (with apologies to Daniel) a Mk 7.5 model. That’s the one with the Aston Martin grille. I really like it.

    It’s a shame the run-out model is blighted by that horrible facelift.

    I don’t know why Ford won’t sell me an electric Fiesta, but maybe it’s time for the name to die to herald something new. Just as the much-loved Cortina and Escort names did. Never say never, but I doubt I’ll be in the queue to buy whatever its electric CUV replacement turns out to be.

  9. I guess it’s just time for the Fiesta to bow out – nothing lasts for ever. All the other manufacturers will be facing similar decisions, as internal combustion-only models get phased out. At least it looks as though there are some new Ford models in the pipeline, as shown in the tribute to the Fiesta from the company, below.

    Three things make me sad about the Fiesta’s demise. Firstly, it’s yet another thing which has gone, which one just sort of expected to continue for a while.

    Secondly, it’s a shame that choice has been reduced in such a popular and important segment of the market, and one I have a particular fondness for.

    Thirdly, it’s a good car. Models like the Cortina were becoming less and less competitive as they reached the end of their lives, but I think the Fiesta is still relevant. I’m especially sorry that the Vignale concept wasn’t better received.

    However, one can contrast the investment and effort the Volkswagen Group have put in to the B segment with what Ford did. They may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but things like the T-Cross, Taigo and all the rest show that there is potential in the market.

  10. At least it doesn’t look like the Fiesta will die by badge-engineering, as some sort of re-skinned Polo.

    Ford don’t seem to be trying; there must be some odd politics behind building the Fiesta in high-wage Köln-Niehl rather than Romania or Turkey.

    The Köln plant looks grossly under-utilised. I suspect that some time back the course was set on managed decline to reduce the amount of employee compensation and other shut-cown costs. It’s looking more and more like Germany’s Longbridge.

    1. It looks as though Köln will be okay – it will be an EV production hub. Other plants are closing, though. I guess places like Köln have skilled people, are well-placed geographically, etc.

      The tie-up with Volkswagen is interesting – the two companies have done it before with the Sharan/Alhambra/Galaxy. I wondered whether Ford would sell its European operations to Volkswagen; I’m not sure that Volkswagen would be all that keen.

      By the way, YouTube channel, Big Car, has done quite a nice profile of the Fiesta.

  11. I don’t know what has actually happened, but it disturbs me to learn that the 2023 Taurus was developed for hot climates such as Saudi Arabia and UAE (where I hear they are calling it a Mondeo), and of course for China, which per: might not be working out so well for them.

    But if they don’t care about us, well…the Mazda2 is available in soul red.

  12. Sad to see the end of the line for the Fiesta, but I’d say it was in the making for the last few years. I don’t think the B-class is dead in Europe, at least based on the healthy amount of brand new C3, 208, Clio, Yaris, and even Corsas that I see on my daily commute here in sunny Barcelona. I like the current Fiesta and I think it’s a clean, tidy design, but place it alongside the aforementioned B-class leaders, and it looks old, especially the interior. Oh well, this is yet another step in the paradigm change in our beloved car world. One final word about the Fiesta: my experience with one was a very pleasant two or three days doing doing real-world testing of a Mk4 (1996) Fiesta with the ultra-smooth, rev-happy 1.25 litre engine when I was a young engineer at Ford of Venezuela. What a great drive that little Fiesta! If I had stayed at Ford a little longer, instead of moving to the US for grad-school, I would have definitely bought one, as they were getting ready for production the next year.

    1. My father bought one 1.25 on 1996.
      That Yamaha developded Sigma/Zetec-se was the most delicious thing I’ve ever squeezed.
      From start to redline it was equally happy, smooth and EV silent.
      And that chassis, on 165/65 R 13, was the most balanced I’ve know . One could drive on sweeping empty A roads or motorways all day at 90 mph without touching the brakes, only easing the throtle on curves and feeling the tires sidewalls deflecting a bit without ever letting go.
      Very good ride as well, variable assisted PS as well once past the changing 40 mph point.
      The sweetest, most ‘human’ drive I had (among some 30 cars I experienced)

  13. Well said Gustavo. During that time the star car at Ford of Venezuela was the locally assembled Ford Laser, a badge-engineered Mazda 323 that was just launched to compete with the almighty Toyota Corolla. Really good car, actually. Well, to me the driving experience of that 1.25 Fiesta was better, despite the 30 to 50 hp deficit compared to 1.6 and 1.8 Ford Laser versions, respectively.

    1. The Laser was Ford’s Asia/Pacific alternative to the Escort sold in Europe and North America. This is why it had the larger engines.
      The Mazda based Fiesta alternative was the Mazda 121 based Ford Festiva. (Many of these were made in South Korea by Kia, then a Ford subsidiary, and later marketed as the Kia Pride when Kia tried being it’s own thing.)

      There were two generations of Festiva before Ford made the Fiesta a world-wide brand and the Festiva disappeared as a name. The first generation Festiva/121/Pride is still in production in Iran with a variety of variants sold under the Saipa brand. Was the Festiva sold in Venezuela? A version of the Saipa, the Venirauto Turpial was.

    2. The Festiva was built in Venezuela and was quite successful. It was offered in five-door hatchback and four-door saloon, both with a 1.3 litre petrol engine and either a 5-speed manual or a 3-speed automatic. I always thought it was a cool little car, especially the hatchback. The Saipa/Turpial was also “built” in Venezuela, but it’s a footnote in the Venezuelan auto industry I’d rather forget. Let me just say that I wrote “built” in quotation marks because the Venirauto assembly plant was little more than a large shed where they screwed together partially built cars (as opposed to a real assembly plant with CKD and locally made parts, welding and paint lines, etc.). Venirauto was a political scheme and when it fizzled out after a few years, as these sort of things often do, all that was left was a sad, abandoned assembly plant with rusting, pre-painted car bodies lying around among overgrown tropical vegetation. That might not be the end of the story, though, as I just read that they plan to produce cars again. We’ll see…

      But I prefer to end this comment on a happy note, with two Venezuelan Ford Festiva ads from the 1990s found in Youtube. Enjoy!

    3. Thank you cesargrauf. The perfect response and why DTW is the best car site.

      Your reward is a picture of the ultimate Festiva, the Shogun. Seven made, six remain, mid mounted 300 bhp Ford/Yamaha V6.

    4. Kind words, David. Thank you! I wish I could participate more here. As you said, this is the best motoring site-virtual-pub on the web. And the best comments section too, full of good, fun insight and none of the histrionics and nastiness so common in comments sections. Like I said, I wish I could participate more and have made a note to myself to do that. Friday’s post was a happy exception because the office server was down the entire day😅

    5. Thank you Cesar

      And allow me to express here my similar feeling regarding the dificulty to follow (and comment!) DTW’s prodigious output.
      So, I’d like to submit the idea: requiring DTW to publish LESS posts than it does.
      Posting an article only on even days or on odd days would allow us, the paying (🤣) readers, to keep up with the Johneses and comment, comment, comment no end 😂
      That’s my deepest desire, anyway🤩

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