Ford expects buyers of its new Fiesta subcompact to fall into two categories – previous Fiesta customers who now have more money to spend and people downsizing from compact cars who don’t want to compromise on technology.
To appeal to those buyers, Ford has packed the Fiesta with advanced driver assistant equipment and is adding an upscale Vignale variant and a crossover-styled version.
The wider choice is meant to appeal to the Fiesta’s typical target buyer, named “Antonella” by Ford’s marketers. Antonella is the same customer Ford pictured for the previous Fiesta, but she can afford to spend more, said Ford of Europe’s head of exterior design, George Saridakis. Antonella has moved out of her parents’ house, earns more “but is still very expressive,” he said.
As part of its strategy to improve its profitability in Europe through increased sales of higher margin vehicles, Ford wants to boost the average sticker price of the Fiesta, its best-selling model in the region. The automaker aims to sell better-equipped versions in what it calls the “premium subcompact” sector - small cars costing more than 20,000 euros. This market accounted for 15 percent of Europe’s subcompact market last year, Ford says.
Ford expects the Titanium to remain the best-selling variant but its share of total sales will drop to 35 percent from 43 percent as customers choose more expensive versions. The sporty ST-Line will take 25 percent and the Vignale 10 percent, the company predicts. Ford is not dropping the Fiesta three-door model, which it expects to account for one in four sales, just as it does now. The Fiesta has grown in size to distance it from the Ka+, which is now based on a Ford platform instead of sharing Fiat 500 underpinnings. The new Ka+ moves up from the minicar segment and targets buyers seeking a low-priced subcompact.
Ford differentiates the Fiesta variants with different bumpers, grilles and interior trim. The cluster surround for the Vignale and ST uses a molding process new to Ford that encases a pattern under clear plastic to give the dashboard a more premium feel. “It’s one of the most expensive parts of the interior,” Saridakis said.