Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ford expands Fiesta lineup for North America

2009 Ford Fiesta

Ford Motor Co. has added a hatchback version of the Fiesta to the 2010 North American launch of the small economy car. The hatchback will be sold alongside the sedan.

Ford confirmed today that it will build the Fiesta line at its Cuautitlan, Mexico, plant starting in early 2010 as part of $3 billion investment in the country.

The Fiesta will give Ford two strong highly fuel efficient competitors against such cars the Honda Fit and the Nissan Versa. The Fiesta nameplate is one of Ford's best known global small cars. It was last used on a North American vehicle in 1981.

It's not clear if the hatchback Fiesta will be the three-door, five-door or both. Ford officials in Dearborn would not confirm the number of doors Friday. However, a Ford official at the plant said both hatchbacks would be offered alongside the sedan in the United States.

"Ford is absolutely committed to leveraging our global assets to accelerate the shift to more fuel-efficient small cars and powertrain technologies that people really want and value," Ford CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement.

New vehicles part of $3 billion Mexican investment

Ford said the Cuautitlan plant will be transformed from making F-Series pickups for the Mexican market to small cars for all of North America.

The changes at the plant near Mexico City begin this year, as the plant is converted from its current production of F-Series pickups for the Mexican market to small cars for all of North America.

The automaker also said its Chihuahua Engine Plant, which builds I-4 engines, will make diesel engines for light- and medium-duty trucks in global markets. Ford further will build a transmission plant in Guanajuato as part of a joint venture with German supplier Getrag.

All told, Ford's plan will create 4,500 new jobs, the company said.

Ford added that after the changes are made, pickup trucks for the Mexican market will be imported from U.S. plants.

Ford said it expects its annual capacity in Mexico to increase to 500,000 vehicles and 330,000 transmissions by 2012. Ford's current capacity there is about 296,000 vehicles.

[Source : Automotive News (Subscription Required)]


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