The Ford Fiesta is over 40 years old and is still one of Britain’s favourite cars, in fact, over 17 million Fiestas have been produced worldwide since the launch. We’re looking back on the history of the Fiesta, now in its eight generation.
In 1972, a secret and mysterious project was given the go-ahead by Henry Ford II under the project name ‘Bobcat’. The project aimed to create the most compact Ford ever but with a longer wheelbase than competitors in its class. A new factory in Valencia in Spain was to produce 500,000 ‘Bobcats’.
Following the factory opening, engine production began in 1975 in Valencia. Henry Ford II chose the name ‘Fiesta’, because he liked the alliteration with ‘Ford’ and that it means ‘party’ in Spanish. The patent for the name ‘Fiesta’ was already held by General Motors but they gifted the name to Ford for free.
Ford Fiesta MKI, 1976-1983
Four months after the Fiesta’s European release, a right-hand drive version was launched in the UK, cementing the Fiesta’s title as Ford’s first globally successful front wheel drive car. In 1979, the Fiesta won the Efficiency Award for its low running and maintenance costs, which was awarded to them by Prince Phillip on behalf of the UK Design Council. Around the same time, the UK also announced the introduction of the Motability plan, and the Fiesta was one of the key cars integral to the scheme. Of course, Ford are still heavily involved in Motability and promoting fuel efficiency to this day.
Ford Fiesta MKII, 1983-1989
In 1983, six years after the original launch of the Fiesta, the Ford Fiesta MKII was launched and included an even more fuel-efficient engine, a longer wheelbase and a more aerodynamic shape.
Ford Fiesta MKIII, 1989-1995
This was followed by the MKIII in 1989, which was codenamed BE-13 during development. The Fiesta MKIII included a pioneering brake system, and it had a larger body with the first ever five-door Fiesta option.
Ford Fiesta MKIV,1995-1999, and Fiesta MKV facelift, 1999-2002
In 1995, the MKIV was released, which included a less angular frame that evolved into the rounded, aerodynamic chassis of today. The Fiesta model included a brand new range of Zetec SE-engines and became the UK’s top selling car for the first time.
1999 saw the launch of the MKV, which was technically a facelift version of the MKIV, bringing it more in line with the Ford Focus, a brand new Ford car at the time. The Fiesta model was Britain’s best-selling supermini and included the launch of the Zetec S hot hatch, a model that began Ford’s journey into its famous hot hatch line-up.
Ford Fiesta MKVI, 2002-2008
It was no joke when Ford announced the MKVI Fiesta on April Fool’s Day in 2002, a model which included a modernised shape and had an anti-locking brake system as standard for the first time. This Fiesta model was sold as a ‘world car’ and was put on sale across the globe, with better sales than any preceding Fiesta models.
A surprise facelift version of the MKVI was released in 2005, pushing the Fiesta to become the most popular supermini in Britain for the first time since 2001. The facelift version included new front and rear lights, new colour options and a refined interior that included new technologies.
Ford Fiesta MKVII, 2008-2017
The MKVII was revealed in 2008, receiving praise from car critics. The MKVII showed a complete Fiesta revolution and was also a sign of how much the motor industry had changed since the first model’s release in 1976. The new model included brand new tech such as keyless entry, electric power steering, and ambient lighting.
In 2014, the Fiesta was named the best-selling car of all time in the UK, with 4,115,000 units sold, and remains the best-selling UK car to this day.
Last year (2017), the MKVIII was released, a model that is every bit as iconic as the previous versions. The most comprehensive and versatile model yet, the new Fiesta has a stunning design and is packed full of technologies.
The new Fiesta family includes a model for everyone, with the introduction of the brand new Fiesta Active, the Vignale model and the newly released Fiesta ST. To continue the Fiesta's legacy, check out our Fiesta offer, contact your local TCH dealership, or book a test drive now.