Micropost: 1995 Ford Fiesta Ashtray

From 1995 t0 2002 this was the Ford Fiesta, an evergreen staple of the supermini sector. 

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The same dashboard ended up in the Ford Puma too as well as the Mazda 121. It’s the ashtray we are interested in here, a pull-out drawer, designed to accommodate the presence or absence of the centre cubby which was not fitted in some markets. The cigar lighter is positioned in the drawer. The position is not quite optimum as the gear lever gets in the way when in 1st, 3rd and 5th gear.  Continue reading “Micropost: 1995 Ford Fiesta Ashtray”

Our Cars – Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red 1.0

One of the few positive things I could say about owning a RenaultSport Clio was it never left me short of things to write about.

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Keep a tight hold of that lever. (Image: DreamWorks)

From the way it demolished a corner to the way it demolished a gearbox, every journey was an anecdote. Owning the Clio was exciting in the same way that owning a live hand grenade would be exciting. By this yardstick, the Fiesta simply cannot compare. It is simply too smoothly competent to inspire easy prose. Go for a drive however and the Ford proves to be a capable story teller in its own right. Continue reading “Our Cars – Ford Fiesta Zetec S Red 1.0”

Reserved – 2002 Ford Fiesta

After taking a look at the 1976 Ford Fiesta, let’s examine its more restrained successor, the model of 2002.

2002 Ford Fiesta: car rental bucharest
2002 Ford Fiesta: car rental bucharest

“It was designed to please the public, men and women alike, with those big headlamp eyes, and that smiling radiator mouth.” Those are the words of Chris Bird. The project started in 1998 and is one of the unalloyed Bird Fords. The project bore the code B256 and featured a new floor pan for three variants: the five-door, the three door and the Fusion. Continue reading “Reserved – 2002 Ford Fiesta”

Theme: Colour Micropost

I mentioned mid-range colours earlier. Here’s what I meant. Sorry, it’s another Ford. Down the road there parked one in goldy browny grey too. 

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Is this colour available in the UK? A similar colour appeared on Ghia Mondeo Mk2s and on a special edition Ka Mk1.

As an aside, the new Astra and newish Corsa are only appearing with lease-me colours: black, metallic grey and red. That confounds my launch colour theory.

Thought two: in a run-out period could zany colours be a cheap selling point? Is a cheerful paint colour the Fiat 500s main selling point now?

How Appropriate: Fiestas Made in Mexico

Will the Ford Fiesta one day come from Mexico?content_ford-fiesta-frozen-white-styleeco

According to our colleagues over Automotive News, Ford announced plans to build a small-car assembly plant in Mexico. The investment of $1.6 bn will entail 2800 new jobs by 2020. Not everyone is happy. At the same time, the future manufacturing plans of Ford’s Michigan assembly plant are unclear. The production of the Focus and C-Max at the plant will stop in 2018. The President of the UAW union is worried that this means that the Mexican plant will be replacing the Michigan plant and that the Mexican investment is at the expense of US auto workers. Continue reading “How Appropriate: Fiestas Made in Mexico”

Theme : Special – Ford Fiesta Finesse

Here’s a Special Edition that was real class – middle class, that is.

Fiesta Finesse
Fiesta Finesse. Image: fiesta-mk1.co.uk

The Fiesta Finesse holds a very specific place in my memories. It helped me to understand that I was middle class. It also taught me that minor details can matter inordinately in people’s perception of things, and, in particular, cars. The car itself was introduced in 1983 as part of Ford’s ‘special edition model programme’, according to a press announcement made at the time. Looking back, this programme featured models (also including the Cortina) that just happened to be at the end of their life and so were in need of a little marketing boost to support sales. Continue reading “Theme : Special – Ford Fiesta Finesse”

Fiat’s Nightmare Continues – Sales Are Up

Despite well-publicised woes, Fiat is actually doing decent business in the lower reaches of the European market, with 2014 sales figures suggesting a recovery – well, of sorts…

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European car sales figures from Jan-September 2014 illustrate an unexpected bright spot at FCA’s beleaguered Fiat division. It’s not much to write home about, but the former Torinese powerhouse is once again dominating the sub-compact car market. Between the top selling 500 and second placed Panda, Fiat have the mini-car sector sown up, with joint recorded sales of over 239,000 in the year to September. The 500 has performed well above expectations this year; especially so given the model’s age, with sales up 16% on 2013. The good news for Sergio continues with a small miracle occurring at Lancia. Continue reading “Fiat’s Nightmare Continues – Sales Are Up”

Alfa’s latest offers: no deposit over five years, have another £750. And other sales news too.

Alfa are trying hard to fill the shop window. There are still three models on sale, if you are interested. Read on to see what they thought they’d be selling by now.

Alfa UK´s hard sell (that is, it is hard to sell Alfas).
Alfa UK´s hard sell (that is, it is hard to sell Alfas).

Not so many hours after I made up a slogan for Alfa ““We’re still in business! 25% off a 2014 Giulia for an unlimited period” it turns out this is not far from the truth.  This Alfa UK home page (above) is full of activity but not so full of cars, pretty much as it was when I posted this item

If we take a look at the diagram for Alfa´s plans we see that Continue reading “Alfa’s latest offers: no deposit over five years, have another £750. And other sales news too.”

Theme: Engines – a survey of Fiat´s 2004 and 2014 ranges

Then and now: how does Fiat´s present engine range compare to that of 2004? And are they making use of the engines available from Chrysler?

2014 Fiat Qubo
2014 Fiat Qubo

Today we are asking “How bad is it exactly for Fiat, in real terms?”. A vibrant company puts effort into engines if only to confuse punters and gain sales. But it can also offer a better match between the car and the complicated needs of the hundreds of millions of potential buyers. If you have a car with just one or two engines for it then it´s a safe bet there are 78 million people who simply won´t consider that vehicle. Think of the Bravo, for example. Continue reading “Theme: Engines – a survey of Fiat´s 2004 and 2014 ranges”

1965 Ford Taunus Versus 2005 Ford Mondeo

Design Footnote: somewhere inside Ford, someone nodded quietly to the firm´s past.

2005 Ford Mondeo
2005 Ford Mondeo

A few months back, while studying the parked cars in my area, I noticed that there was something deeper to the design of late-model Ford Mondeo Mk2s. Not very many cars have a solution that avoids both a horizontal and a vertical wraparound at the front end. The 2005 Mondeo has a design where the strongest line runs down the edge of the wing, down the lights and then goes horizontal under the valence, requiring a twist from forward to sideways mediated by a vertical descent. Usually the bumper and bumperettes interfere with this sort of a fold line being so clear. For this (and its generally extremely handsome, reserved form) the Mondeo deserves a credit. Continue reading “1965 Ford Taunus Versus 2005 Ford Mondeo”

Viva Fiesta

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I had the opportunity to drive a basic (plastic wheel covers), new shape Fiesta with the “old” (these things are relative these days, I find) 1.25 4 cylinder engine the other week.  I’m not going to comment on the styling inside or out, because I’m not a big fan of either and it’s got nothing to do with the point here.  Continue reading “Viva Fiesta”

Industrial Design Archaeology: New Edge to Kinetic Design

After “New Edge” came what exactly? And when? And why?

2004 Ford Focus blue

For some considerable time I have been wondering about the legacy of Ford Europe´s design director, Chris Bird. What did he achieve and where is he now? First a short review of the received wisdom. Prior to taking up his position at Ford in 1999, Bird was at Audi (where he did the first A8) then renowned for its ice-cool design approach.  Continue reading “Industrial Design Archaeology: New Edge to Kinetic Design”