Downsizers Feed Surging Ford Fiesta Sales


2011 Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta had its strongest sales month yet in the United States in February. Ford moved 6,270 Fiestas in February, surpassing the previous monthly record by more than 1,000 cars.

Jim Farley, Ford's group vice president for global marketing, told Ward's Automotive that many Fiesta customers traded in larger “C-class” vehicles such as the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. Farley claims that these customers view the Fiesta as C-class car (compacts) and not part of the B-class (subcompacts) to which in actually belongs. Farley noted that the popular hatchback model of the Fiesta sells for prices comparable to some C-class cars. The hatchback makes up 55% of Fiesta sales volume even though it is more expensive than the sedan.

Despite rising gas prices, not all subcompacts enjoyed the same kind of sales surge as the Fiesta. In February, the Fiesta outsold all other subcompacts except the Kia Soul and Nissan Versa (which is dimensionally in the C-segment but priced like a subcompact). In fact, many Fiesta competitors experienced declining sales in February. The Toyota Yaris dropped more than 50% from year-ago levels and the Hyundai Accent was down 15%. These sales declines could be explained by the fact that both models are due for replacement soon.

So far, it seems that Fiesta has an advantage in attracting owners of larger cars that most other subcompacts don't. This could change change later on in the year when new versions of the Chevrolet Sonic (Aveo), Hyundai Accent, Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris and possibly other subcompacts arrive on the scene.

[Ward's Automotive, Subcompact Culture]

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