Ford built its Fiesta number 6,000,000 just days after Transit number 6,000,000. These are just two examples of how much the car industry has progressed in the last decades.
If you present Jeremy Clarkson with a Transit, he’ll go on and on about how about 80% of all bank robberies in the UK during the 1970’s featured a Transit in some part of the heist. He’ll also tell you about how the Transit pretty much built modern England and that there are an infinite number of options when it comes to ordering one. I think the man is talking absolute sense, and the US is now getting Transits as well (Albeit just the Transit Connect for now). Only time will tell how it will fare against the V8 powered vans on this side of the pond, but so far, it’s a huge success.
Now, the Fiesta is pretty much the same: a popular car in Europe that has no problems going fast. It has had its own one-make race series since 2006, and it’s very practical for what it is. Now, it’s coming stateside as part of Ford’s globalization program.
When you compare the early cars to their modern counterparts, you get to grasp the first line of the title. The new Fiesta is 20 inches longer than its original counterpart, has three times the horsepower and weighs quite a lot more. Inside, you get air conditioning, power steering, airbags, ABS, keyless entry and in the US model, Ford Sync. The Transit isn’t that far behind.
You may be saying “But nothing of what you just mentioned is out of this world, even a base model Nissan Versa has an airbag these days.” However, if you were in 1979 and told your average guy that their new, cheap hatchback would get air conditioning as standard, the man would very nearly pass out. All of the modern commodities you have on your SUV or Honda Fit are the result of years of decreasing prices and more readily available technology. There was a time when you only got ABS in a Mercedes S-Class. Think about that the next time you need to slam on your brakes.
Press Release (Fiesta)
SIX MILLION FIESTAS ALREADY BUILT BY FORD IN COLOGNE
COLOGNE, May 4, 2010 – The Ford Fiesta, Europe’s top-selling car in the first quarter of 2010*, set another record today at the Ford Niehl Assembly Plant in Cologne, Germany.
The 6 millionth German-built Fiesta, a three-door Vision Blue Sport edition, with a 1.6 litre Ti -VCT engine (120 PS), destined for a German customer, rolled off the production line today – 31 years after the first one was produced here in October 1979. To date, seven generations of the Ford Fiesta have been built in Cologne in 1989 and the Niehl facility became “lead plant” for Fiesta production in Europe.
Since Fiesta production began in Europe in 1976, the ever-popular car has sold over 13 million units in total and has been built in four Ford European manufacturing plants, including Cologne. The first car was built in Valencia, Spain in 1976, where – as with Niehl – the latest-generation Ford Fiesta continues to be built. From 1976 until 2002, the Fiesta was also built at Ford’s Dagenham plant in the United Kingdom, and at the Saarlouis plant in Germany between 1976 and 1980.
Over the years, thanks to increased production efficiency, more Fiestas have been built faster and to even higher quality levels at Niehl. Ford continues to be considered by industry experts to be one of the most efficient carmakers in Europe.
It took ten years to reach the first million units production milestone of the Fiesta; the second millionth Fiesta rolled off the assembly line in less than half the time; the time between the fifth and sixth millionth Fiestas was just over three years.
Around 4,300 employees are currently producing 1,885 Ford Fiesta and Ford Fusion models daily in a flexible three-shift-system at the Niehl site. In 2009, the plant manufactured 406,200 cars in total – 350,500 Fiestas and 55,700 Fusions. About 80 per cent of the plant’s total vehicle production is exported.
“The Fiesta’s success speaks for itself. Its innovative design combined with state-of-the-art technology continues to be a great hit with customers,” said Ken Macfarlane, vice president, manufacturing, Ford of Europe. “To achieve six million units of production is a great milestone for Niehl, and one that everyone at the plant should be justly proud of achieving. This is not just a success for Ford, but also for Cologne, North Rhine Westphalia and Germany.”
Niehl production of the latest-generation Fiesta started in August 2008. Only 18 months after its debut, more than 750,000 customers have purchased the new Fiesta around the world, with more than 670,000 cars being sold in Europe.
The Niehl Assembly Plant also played a key role in an initiative to introduce the new Fiesta to consumers in North America. Under its “Fiesta Movement” programme, Ford selected 100 customers to drive the new Fiesta and then relate their experiences through social networking sites such as Facebook, FlickR and YouTube. A fleet of 100 five-door Fiestas for the programme was built at the German plant and exported to North America in March 2009.
The Fiesta will begin to arrive in dealer showrooms in North America during the second quarter of 2010.
Ford also will launch its global Fiesta in key Asian Pacific markets during 2010. Aside from Niehl and Valencia in Europe, the Fiesta also is built in Nanjing, China and Rayong, Thailand. The Ford Cuautitlàn Plant in Mexico will celebrate its first production Fiesta model in the coming weeks.
Press Release (Transit):
SIX-MILLIONTH FORD TRANSIT PRODUCED
Major Milestone For Ford’s Legendary Commercial Vehicle
COLOGNE, April 30, 2010 – Ford’s legendary Transit commercial vehicle is once more making headlines after the six-millionth example rolled off the production line today at the Ford-Otosan plant in Kocaeli, Turkey.
The milestone vehicle – a white, medium-wheelbase, FT280 Kombi – is destined for a German fleet customer, but Transit’s production achievement and its upcoming 45th birthday are also being celebrated in special ceremonies at Ford’s other Transit assembly plants around the world in Southampton (UK), Nanchang (China) and Hai Duong (Vietnam).
“With six million units now produced and a 45-year life so far, Transit is not only the longest-serving model in Ford of Europe’s product portfolio, but throughout that time it has been a major pillar of our profitable business in Europe, and is one of the most successful commercial vehicles in automotive history,” said John Fleming, Ford of Europe Chairman and CEO.
“We are very proud that the Transit name has become synonymous with vans in many markets around the world and we fully intend that it will continue to build on that iconic status into the future,” Fleming added.
Right from its launch in 1965, Transit has lived up to its reputation as a durable, practical and versatile tool for professional customers, consistently offering the latest commercial vehicle technologies combined with high levels of durability and safety, car-like comfort and driving quality and low cost of ownership.
The latest-generation Transit is the only medium commercial vehicle range in the world to offer customers the availability of front, rear- and all-wheel drive powertrains on one platform.
“It’s just one example of our razor-sharp consumer focus with Transit,” said Steve Adams, Ford of Europe Vehicle Line Director for Commercial Vehicles. “Our aim always is to deliver for our professional customers a wide range of commercial vehicles fully tailored to meet their diverse demands and needs.”
Created in the days even before the European Community and Ford of Europe existed, Transit was the first Ford product to be conceived and developed for the whole of Europe, bringing together for the first time engineering and marketing teams from Britain and Germany. It has remained a pacesetter ever since.
Ford Transit is also a truly global success story and is now available to customers in more than 85 markets on five continents. In its highest volume market, Britain, it has continuously held position as the segment leader since its launch in 1965.
Despite the recent economic difficulties, Transit was the most successful vehicle in the one and two tonne segment in 2009 within its main 19 European markets. With an overall market share of 12.8 % – up 0.2 points on the 2008 result – Transit posted its best European share for six years.
In August 2010, the Ford Transit will pass another key milestone as it will celebrate its 45th birthday.
“The Ford Transit has a superb heritage and an even brighter future. We’ll keep counting and we will keep reminding the world that Transit remains true its heritage and its hard-won reputation,” Fleming said.