If you haven’t owned a Ford Fiesta, you can almost guarantee one of your family or closest friends have.
That’s because it’s Britain’s most bought car of all time, amassing 4.8million sales in the UK. Globally, Ford has shifted an incredible 22million of them.
But today marks the end of the road for Fiesta. The final examples will emerge from the brand’s factory in Germany as Ford officially lowers the curtain on a 47-year production run of one of the greatest automotive names of the modern era.
Friday 7 July sees the last examples adorned with a Fiesta badge emerge from its Cologne assembly line as Ford pushes ahead with plans to kill off the UK’s most-bought motor to replace it with an electric crossover under a new moniker.
Having first arrived in 1976 and been sold across seven different generations, the plucky small car has topped Britain’s annual sales chart 16 times and leads the Cortina and Escort as the nation’s all-time favourite model.
With over 1.5million registered keepers on record in 2022, it is the most common car on our roads today and remains a staple of Britain’s streets. In fact, it’s the ninth most-bought new car of this year, despite Ford months ago culling a number of different versions to reduce outputs ahead of today’s swansong.
Bosses confirmed to MailOnline and This is Money that the last two Fiestas off the line today will be kept by the company. One will be retained in its international fleet in Germany while the final right-hand-drive model by Ford UK in its heritage collection.
Farewell Fiesta: Ford will make its last Fiesta today as the US brand signals the end of the road for Britain’s most-bought car of all time that has been in production for 47 years
The Ford factory in Cologne (pictured) will produce its final Fiesta today. The small hatchback has been built at the German plant since 1989 – and for the UK market since the Mk5 Fiesta on sale from 2002
Henry Ford II pictured standing alongside a Ford Fiesta S in 1976 – the year the car was first launched to the European market – though UK sales didn’t start until a year later
Bosses confirmed to MailOnline and This is Money that the last two Fiestas off the line today will be kept by the company. One will be retained in its international fleet in Germany while the final right-hand-drive model by Ford UK in its heritage collection
BEST-SELLING CARS OF ALL TIME IN BRITAIN
1. Ford Fiesta: 4.8million
2. Ford Cortina: 4.3million
3. Ford Escort: 4.1million
4. Vauxhall Astra: 3.1million
5. Vauxhall Corsa: 2.3million
6. Ford Focus: 2.2million
7. Volkswagen Golf: 1.84million
8. Vauxhall Cavalier: 1.82million
9. Mini: 1.78million
10. BMW 3 Series: 1.5million
Pictured in 1979: Ford’s fleet of passenger cars including Fiesta Mark I, Range Fiesta, Granada, Capri, Escort, and Cortina
Why is Ford killing-off Fiesta?
Ford announced in October that it would produce its final Fiesta this summer.
That’s despite the car being incredibly popular in recent years, and still is today.
It was the UK’s best-selling model every year between 2009 and 2020, eventually losing its crown to the Vauxhall Corsa in 2021 to end its 12-year spell at the top of the sales standings.
And even after Ford announced it will be terminated for good, British dealers sold 25,070 of them last year – enough to secure tenth spot in the UK sales chart. And UK drivers have bought another 15,359 in the first six months of 2023, making it the ninth best-selling model so far this year.
Which is why the decision to cancel Fiesta today will feel to many – including us – a tad premature.
But Ford has been planning its demise for some time.
It stopped building three-door examples last spring and has not made a diesel-engined Fiesta since October 2020.
A UK 1977 advert for the Fiesta. One of the biggest selling points to potential customers was the fact it could carry a chest of drawers if you lowered the rear bench seat
By 1979, Ford has already built one million Fiestas, such was the level of demand worldwide. The two millionth example followed well before the second-generation Fiesta arrived in 1983
The success of the first-generation Fiesta became the platform for the nameplate’s huge success
The Design Council handed Ford an award in 1979 for making a ‘detailed and calculated attempt to reduce the maintenance and repair costs’ with the Mk1 Fiesta
Ford’s electric push: The US brand is killing off Fiesta – as well as Focus, Mondeo, Galaxy and S-Max – to make way for its next-generation of electric vehicles. It will launch seven new EVs in Europe by 2024, taking its zero-emission line-up to nine cars by 2024. The ‘Medium-size Crossover’ pictured above is already confirmed as the Explorer EV, while the ‘Sport Crossover’ is reportedly set to relaunch the Capri name
The Ford Explorer SUV is due to go on sale in the UK in 2024. It will be followed by a smaller compact electric crossover – likely to take the name Capri – that will likely take the spot of Fiesta before the end of the decade
The choice to cull the legendary name comes as the US company embarks on the next phase of its transition to electric cars.
By mid-2026, bosses want every Ford in showrooms in the UK and across Europe to be either fully electric or plug-in hybrid. And by 2030 – the date the UK Government intends to outlaw the sale of new petrol and diesel cars – its showrooms will exclusively sell EVs.
The end of the line for the Fiesta will now allow Ford to modify its Cologne factory into a ‘state-of-the-art’ EV-only plant where it will produce its next-generation of battery-powered models.
This includes the Explorer SUV, which is one of a number of new electric SUVs that it plans to bring to market in the coming years.
In an official statement provided to MailOnline and This is Money, the brand said: ‘At Ford in Europe, we are rapidly transitioning to an electric future.
‘As part of this transition, production of the Fiesta in Cologne, Germany will be discontinued on 7 July 2023 and a new era at the Cologne Electric Vehicle Center will begin.
‘The new electric Ford Explorer will be produced at the hi-tech facility, with first deliveries to European customers in 2024.
‘With an annual production capacity of 250,000-plus EVs, the Explorer and a new Sports Crossover vehicle will join Ford’s family of passenger vehicles.’
Pictured: A 1978 Ford Fiesta Mk1 Solitaire alongside a vintage Ford Model A
In 2016, Ford celebrated 40 years of the Fiesta by inviting owners of all generations to meet at the Dagenham factory where the model was previously produced to travel in convoy. Mk1 Fiestas are appreciating classics and are likely to go up in value now production of the nameplate has ceased
Pictured: A 1982 Ford Fiesta Bravo II advert. The Bravo II was an upgraded version of the M1 Fiesta L with a two-tone paint job
The Ford Fiesta hasn’t only been popular among the public but also the police, with the car used by forces through various generations. See here an early Mk2 Fiesta
If you haven’t owned a Ford Fiesta, millions of Britons likely would have learned to drive in one. Pictured: A fleet of AA Driving School Fiestas
While millions of Britons would have owned a Fiesta, so many more have been behind the wheel of one as a result of its common availability in rental fleets at home and abroad – and some more unfortunate members of the public might have ridden in the backseat of one of the many deployed by UK police forces over the years.
And then there’s also its huge popularity among driving instructors, who for years have turned to the Fiesta for its ease of driving, strong reliability and great handling to coach the next generation of motorists how to navigate Britain’s roads.
In a recent survey conducted by Auto Trader, it found that more than one in five (22 per cent) of drivers said they passed their test first time in a Fiesta.
Marc Palmer, Brand Insight Director at Auto Trader said: ‘Although the Fiesta was a stalwart of the brand, Ford has managed to consistently deliver a range of great quality cars for over a 100 years, so it’s safe to assume there’ll be some exciting models in the pipeline.
‘They may not be fossil fuelled, but I’m sure they’ll offer the familiar Ford driving experience, with the environmental benefits of electric.’
In a statement, Ford explained why it was axing the Fiesta: ‘At Ford in Europe, we are accelerating our efforts to go all-in on electrification with our passenger vehicles being fully electric by 2030 – and all vehicles across our Ford portfolio by 2035’
The Cologne factory, where the last Fiesta will be built, will now be transformed into a state-of-the-art manufacturing centre (pictured) that exclusively produces selectric vehicles
Ford has committed to its entire passenger vehicle line-up in Europe being electric or plug-in hybrid by mid-2026 and in 2030 will be electric only
And Fiesta isn’t the only recongisable nameplate Ford is ousting…
The car giant wound-up outputs of Mondeo in April 2022.
Just 12 months later, bosses have overseen discontinuation of the S-Max and Galaxy MPVs in Valencia, Spain.
It has also signalled that it will pull the plug on Focus production in Saarlouis, Germany, at the end of 2025.
SEVEN GENERATIONS OF FORD FIESTA IN PICTURES
Fiesta Mk1 (1976 to 1983): Pictured, a first-generation Ford Fiesta being test driven by former Daily Mail motoring correspondent, Michael Kemp. It was also the first Ford car to feature a transverse engine layout, and is widely credited as being the brand’s first globally successful front-wheel drive model
Fiesta Mk2 (1983 to 1989): The second-generation Fiesta was the first to be available with a diesel engine. In October 2020, the brand made the decision to cull diesel engines from its range as demand for oil burners continued to decline
Fiesta Mk3 (1989 to 1997): The third Fiesta offered a longer and wider body, more interior space and anti-lock brakes – a first for any small car. It was also the first Fiesta to be sold with five doors
Fiesta Mk4 (1995 to 2002): The fourth version had new rounded looks and an oval grille. Dual airbags came as standard for the first time in the small Ford. Pictured: An employee of the Kolner Ford plant Niehl in 1996, when, every 40 seconds, a new Fiesta would leave the assembly line
Fiesta Mk5 (2002 to 2008): Idris Elba worked on the Fiesta plant in Dagenham for two years before he found fame as an actor. Pictured: The fifth-generation Fiesta was the first not to be built in the UK as of 2002 after the East London car plant was closed down
Fiesta Mk6 (2008 to 2016): The sixth-generation Fiesta proved a massive hit after it came to market. Sporty looks and styling made it the best-selling car every full year it was produced until it was succeeded by the latest model that arrived in 2017
Fiesta Mk7 (2016 to 2023): The current Fiesta continued predecessors’ success, being the most-bought new car in Britain until 2020. However, Ford’s decision to prioritise outputs of commercial vehicles – and the rise in popularity of the latest Vauxhall Corsa – means it is no longer the best-selling new model in the country. The last examples are being built today
Last year, Ford triggered an emotional response from British drivers by tweeting that the Fiesta would be no more after summer 2023.
The company’s official social media account posted on 26 October: ‘It’s time to say goodbye to the little car that has touched us all.
‘The big moments, the little moments, and all the ‘firsts’ – thanks for the memories.’
And its not just the general public who have fallen for the Fiesta’s charm.
In the same year the first one was sold in Britain (1977) it also made an appearance alongside Roger Moore in James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.
And there plenty of other celebs associated with it.
This includes two-time Academy award-winner Renee Zellweger, who is said to drive one, and Idris Elba who worked for two years at Ford’s Dagenham car plant where Fiesta was built before he found fame on the big screen.
Sadly the East London car plant stopped making Fiestas in 2002 and production was moved to Germany, where assembly will stop for good today.
TV presenter and glamour model Nell McAndrew pictured during Ford’s 30-year anniversary celebrations for the Fiesta in 2006
Will Fiesta second-hand values soar as a result of production ending?
When Ford first announced the Fiesta would end production in 2023, sentimental car buyers flocked to the used market to see how much they could grab one for.
Searches for the Ford supermini on the car selling site Cinch rose by 37 per cent in the seven days after the news was confirmed.
And rival online platform Motorway says the Fiesta remains in demand today thanks to its great value, especially in the current economic climate.
The average sale price of used Ford Fiestas under five years old has increased by 14 per cent since Ford bosses confirmed it is going to be killed off, jumping from £10,049 to £11,505 in the last eight months, the site claims.
Alex Buttle, co-founder of Motorway said: ‘We continue to see high demand for the Ford Fiesta, as our dealer partners remain keen to stock their forecourts with this modern-day classic.
‘And with the average sold price of Ford Fiestas increasing by 14 per cent in the last few months alone, it’s a testament to the popularity of this timeless model.
‘The ceasing of production of new Ford Fiestas may mean the end of an era, but the used-car market will continue breathing life into this much sought-after car for years ahead.’
Vehicle history checking provider carVertical said today’s end of Fiesta production is a ‘real turning point for the car industry’.
Matas Buzelis from the company told us: ‘The Fiesta remains an enduringly popular model on the second-hand car market.
‘It was the most sold used car in the first three months of this year with over 80,000 changing hands. In comparison, the next best-selling model, the Vauxhall Corsa, sold just under 60,000.
‘Luckily for Fiesta fans, second-hand models will still be up for sale for a long while to come.
‘The average age of a Fiesta checked on car history platform carVertical is 10 years old, showing just how resilient and reliable these cars are. Models produced in 2014, 2015 and 2013 are the most popular among drivers.
‘Everyone in the country has either owned a Fiesta or knows someone who does, so it’s a sad farewell to the nation’s car next door.’
Fiesta is the most commonly stolen cars in Britain. While that comes as little surprise given there are more of them on the road than any other model, vehicle theft experts warn they could become increasingly targeted now that production has ended
Experts warn Fiesta owners their cars are now more attractive to thieves
Ford’s small hatchback was Britain’s most-stolen car in 2022.
That’s an unsurprising statistic given there are more examples on the road than any other model.
However, experts warn that Fiestas could become increasingly attractive targets for criminals now that Ford has stopped making them and there is an increase in demand for second-hand parts to keep the 1.5million on the road going.
Fiesta owners have been warned to keep an eye on their cars as the end of production means there will be less supply of parts and could make the small Fords more attractive to thieves
Stolen vehicle recovery specialist Tracker has urged Fiesta owners to be ‘on their guard’.
Clive Wain, Tracker’s head of police liaison, told This is Money: ‘It is common for any vehicle to become in high demand when supply stops, and the price of parts will slowly start to increase.
‘The end of the Fiesta doesn’t just signal the end of one of the most popular cars in the UK, but an even greater theft risk for those cars that are currently on the road.
‘Over the last few years, we’ve already seen that a global lack of good quality used vehicles, alongside spare parts shortages, are increasing the desirability of older, lower value cars like the Fiesta.
‘Vehicles are often stolen and stripped for their parts in chop shops or stolen to order to be shipped abroad to meet international demand.’
Best-selling new cars in the UK each year since 1971
1971 Austin Morris 1100/1300 – 133,527 registrations
1972 Ford Cortina – 187,159
1973 Ford Cortina – 181,607
1974 Ford Cortina – 131,234
1975 Ford Cortina – 106,787
1976 (Fiesta arrives) Ford Escort – 133,959
1977 Ford Cortina – 120,601*
1978 Ford Cortina – 139,204*
1979 Ford Cortina – 193,784
1980 Ford Cortina – 190,281
1981 Ford Cortina – 159,804
1982 Ford Escort – 166,942
1983 Ford Escort – 174,190
1984 Ford Escort – 157,340*
1985 Ford Escort – 157,269*
1986 Ford Escort – 156,895*
1987 Ford Escort – 178,001
1988 Ford Escort – 172,706*
1989 Ford Escort – 181,218
1990 Ford Fiesta – 151,475
1991 Ford Fiesta – 117,181
1992 Ford Escort – 121,140
1993 Ford Escort – 122,002
1994 Ford Escort – 144,089
1995 Ford Escort – 137,760
1996 Ford Fiesta – 139,680
1997 Ford Fiesta – 119,478*
1998 Ford Fiesta – 116,120
1999 Ford Focus – 103,242
2000 Ford Focus – 114,529
2001 Ford Focus – 137,087
2002 Ford Focus – 151,236
2003 Ford Focus – 131,701
2004 Ford Focus – 141,021
2005 Ford Focus – 145,010
2006 Ford Focus – 137,694
2007 Ford Focus – 126,928
2008 Ford Focus – 101,593
2009 Ford Focus – 117,296
2010 Ford Fiesta – 103,013
2011 Ford Fiesta – 96,112
2012 Ford Fiesta – 109,265
2013 Ford Fiesta – 121,929
2014 Ford Fiesta – 131,254
2015 Ford Fiesta – 133,434
2016 Ford Fiesta – 120,525
2017 Ford Fiesta – 94,533
2018 Ford Fiesta – 95,892
2019 Ford Fiesta – 77,833
2020 Ford Fiesta – 49,174
2021 Vauxhall Corsa – 40,914
2022 Nissan Qashqai – 42,704
*figures not confirmed
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