The 2011 Ford Fiesta subcompact is one of the more eagerly awaited cars arriving in the U.S. market. Winning points for styling, equipment, and performance, it's Ford's first high-volume European car to be sold here.

But eager buyers and test drivers will have to take a breath and wait for just a little longer. Ford said today that deliveries of the first Fiestas to its dealers will be delayed up to two weeks, blaming the delays on storm damage to railroads in northern Mexico.

For North American markets, the Fiesta is assembled at the huge Ford complex in Cuautitlan, outside Mexico City. That means all Fiestas for the U.S. market get packed onto train cars and hauled north.

Tropical storms Alex and Bonnie together did enough damage to delay shipments of the Fiesta by two weeks, leaving buyers frustrated. Cars are still coming north, but rerouting away from the most direct train route adds significant delay to the shipping.

2009 Los Angeles Auto Show

2009 Los Angeles Auto Show

Many dealers already have waiting lists for the 2011 Fiesta, which starts at $13,995 but can go well over $20,000 if lavishly optioned--leading some to wonder whether Ford's expectations for the Fiesta are too high.

The 2011 Fiesta offers one engine, a 119-horsepower 1.6-liter four cylinder, fitted to either a five-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic that Ford calls "PowerShift." Two body styles are available, a five-door hatchback and four-door sedan.

Fitted with the five-speed, the Fiesta is rated at 29 mpg in the city, 38 mpg highway. The PowerShift automatic gives 30 mpg in the city, 38 mpg on the highway. For ultimate fuel economy, a special SFE package boosts highway fuel economy to 40 mpg.

[Automotive News (subscription required)]