Ford Discontinues Production Of Popular Gas-Powered Car Due To Its EV-Focus
Ford will permanently discontinue the Ford Fiesta in 2023 and will replace it with four all-new battery-powered offerings to debut in 2024.
Following rumors of its demise, Ford has confirmed the discontinuation of the Fiesta in June 2023. The hugely popular little hatchback will be replaced with three new battery-powered passenger vehicles set to be launched in 2024. This includes an all-electric version of the Puma, which will be built in Craiova, Romania. To say goodbye to the longest-standing vehicle in the company’s portfolio, the carmaker released a touching two-minute video that also previews its new battery-powered offering.
Ford’s decision to drop the Fiesta comes as the company attempts to ramp up its electric vehicle plans. The carmaker has been rather slow to embrace the electric era. As a result, impatient investors have been pushing new CEO, Jim Farley to release a full line of EVs representing two million units each year. That’s around one-third of global production, Quartz reports. For now, Ford now expects about half its sales to be all-electric by 2030.
The carmaker previously announced it would stop selling almost all cars in North America to focus on more profitable SUVs and crossovers in 2018. The company then began a $50 billion push to build electric vehicles. However, Ford doesn’t expect its electric business (known as Ford Model e) to be as profitable as the Fiesta until 2025.
Development of the first generation Ford Fiesta began in 1972 under the direction of Henry Ford II. It was known as Project Bobcat, with teams in Europe and the United States working together on the program. But wasn’t until 1976 that the first models were built in Saarlouis, Germany, and at a factory in Valencia, Spain. Fiesta was chosen as the car’s name to commemorate the new Spanish factory. The following year, the vehicle was named Spain’s Car of the Year.
Introduced as a fuel-efficient subcompact global vehicle, the Ford Fiesta was only sold in the United States for about 10 years, making sporadic appearances from 1978 to 1980 and from 2011 to 2018. But contrast, it was the best-selling small car in Europe each year from 2011 to 2015. Fiestas have also been produced in 15 different factories in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
In total, 22 million Ford Fiestas have been manufactured globally putting its numbers close to the iconic Volkswagen Beetle. The automakers’ plant in Cologne, Germany, which started building the vehicle in 2017, is the last. Going forward, the factory will be dedicated to producing electric vehicles once the last Fiesta comes off the assembly line.
Although it’s been slightly displaced by newer models like the Puma in recent years, the Ford Fiesta was still the sixth best-selling new car in the U.K in September with 4,570 registrations, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers. Now, the company is thought to be using electrification as an opportunity to reinvent the brand for eco-conscious consumers.
The carmaker has already announced an electric version of the F-150 pickup and launched an electric SUV under the Mustang brand. The Puma, which is said to be a smaller hybrid SUV, will take the lead as a more affordable electric option as Ford puts more focus on designing something similar to the Fiesta.