Ford Fiesta Production & Crash Test Kudos

The Ford Fiesta is making it to the United States and it is being sold to customers. I can vouch for that because I saw my first 2011 Fiesta that wasn’t on a test track or sitting in a dealer showroom earlier this week.  Decked out in Lime Squeeze Metallic, that sedan zipped past me as we were both making left turns opposite each other at a busy intersection.

Production Delays

So far, Ford has managed to contain what could be an embarrassing PR problem with its Fiesta. Built in Mexico, the Ford Fiesta has slowly been making its way to the United States, but delays due to weather problems at the beginning of the summer followed by having to halt shipment this past week to fix a defective part has made Fiesta sightings almost as uncommon as finding Big Foot.

But the Fiesta isn’t your local Yeti with 4,400 models sold through the end of July. That number is likely to pick up; I’m fully expecting that by this time next year the Ford Fiesta will be one of the top ten selling cars in America.

IIHS Honors

One of the biggest tests for the Ford Fiesta (or for any model for that matter) is putting it through the crash test wringer. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or IIHS is funded by the major insurance companies and conducts crash tests on new models. The higher the score, the lower your insurance premium. Consumers can save hundreds of dollars annually on auto insurance costs if their vehicle scores high.

This week, the IIHS announced that the Ford Fiesta sedan and hatchback garnered the Top Safety Pick laurels, the first mini car (subcompact or smaller) to do so.  The Fiesta received good ratings for front, side, rollover, and rear crash protection, and for having electronic stability control as standard equipment.

Moreover, the Fiesta represents the eighth Ford Motor Company product to win a Top Safety Pick award giving Ford one more model than Toyota, now in second place. Yes, that feat is great news for consumers and a marketing coup for Ford who most certainly will promote that advantage.

Tough Materials

So, how did Ford make such a small car so tough? Ford says that more than half of the Fiesta’s body structure uses high-strength or ultra-high-strength steels in the floor structure, front rails, beams and in the ultra-rigid, integrated body reinforcement ring designed to help better protect occupants in side impacts.

Further, Ford uses ultra-high-strength aluminized boron steel in its Fiesta A- and B-pillars, pillars that hold up the windshield section and the middle of the roof at the door posts.

2011 Ford Fiesta Specifications

Standard Engine1.6-liter, 16-valve I-4
Transmission5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic
Horsepower120 @ 6,350 rpm
Torque (lb.-ft.)112 @ 5,000 rpm
Curb Weight (pounds)2,578 (sedan)
2,537 (hatchback)
Wheelbase (inches)98.0
Length (inches)160.1 (hatchback)
173.6 (sedan)
Width (inches)66.8
Height (inches)58.0
Passenger Volume (cubic feet)85.1
Storage (cubic feet)12.8 (sedan)
15.4/26.0 (hatchback)
Towing (pounds)N/A
Gas Tank (gallons)12.0
EPA Gas MPG28/37 to 29/40
Manufacturing PlantCuautitlan Assembly Plant, Mexico

Source: Ford Motor Company