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Ford Names World Car "Fiesta". Let the Boo-Birds Start Singing

Posted by: David Kiley on February 15, 2008


Ford Motor Co. said it will name the Verve world-car concept the Fiesta worldwide. The boo-birds in the U.S. who think this is a bad idea will start singing today, or thiss Wednesday, I’m sure.

The Fiesta was sold in the U.S. only between 1978 and 1980. But it has been a mainstay in Europe for more than three decades. Ford rightly believes that it is time to stop splitting names and vehicles across continents. That’s why the same car (with slight exterior modifications) with the same name will be sold in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Previously, Ford was doing crazy stuff like naming one car the Fusion in Europe and an entirely different car the Fusion in the U.S. It was as if the people who made those calls (and you know who you are even if you are retired now)had never been on the Internet.

Naming is tricky business. Ford released an inferior design of a car in the Five Hundred a few years ago, and then renamed it the Taurus (the former Freestyle also was renamed Taurus X)last year. The renaming hasn’t paid off despite giving the sedan and crossover a much better engine. The cars should have been named Taurus out of the gate. But, as the saying goes, you only get to launch once. Re-launches never work.

GM struggled with the naming of the Malibu. I think it was a bad idea to keep the old name on a car that was vastly superior to the old models and had a reputation of being a bad rental car. It didn’t keep the car from getting North American Car of the Year. But its an up-hill battle to get people to take a “Malibu” as seriously as they take an Accord, Camry or Altima.

The Fiesta name could work out just fine. The media reception to the Verve has been great. It’s not comparable to renaming the Five Hundred Taurus, which hasn’t delivered sales, because the Taurus and Taurus X are still ungainly looking vehicles that are out of step with 2008 design sensibilities.

If the Fiesta drives as good as it looks, it should stand up just fine to the Yaris, Fit and Versa. I mean…really…the Fit. Have you heard the one about the guy who went up the dealer and said…”I think I’ll have a Fit.” The dealer says…”Calm down. Maybe you would be happier if we partied at the Fiesta next door.”

Reader Comments

Bob Smith

February 15, 2008 5:15 PM

Why is it that anything the domestic car companies do is always negative and Toyota, Honda and the rest of the off shore companies do is just right? Talk about boring, I am tired of hearing the same stuff year after year. How about a few positive comments; this is America the last time I looked. No wonder the economy is doing so poorly we send all our money to Japan.


February 15, 2008 8:26 PM

As I recall, neither of the prior Fiestas were bad cars, in fact they were just fine for their times. Certainly better than the junk GM was trying to compete with. I shall not forget the Cheevette soon, nor, for that matter, the slightly up-scale, but still a loser, Opel.

So I favour the use of the name. Can't say I like the any-speed crashworthyness of the front ende of this little egg. Stylists should have to live with their creations in the real world prior to putting their fevered pens away. Trailer hitches are real, and they are out there just as are the door-bangers.

Then there is UV which causes rapid deterioration of the headlights on all but HONDAS. Just look around. then price replacements!

More and more it is a;ll about styling and less about content. Very much like what the Crats are running this time... Woe is us...

paull mcgraw

February 15, 2008 9:30 PM

The FIesta of the 21st century is much nicer looking than the old boxy one they had in the '70's. Now if they could only build a 4 door version....


February 15, 2008 11:05 PM

There's absolutely nothing wrong with "Fiesta." It fits the fashionable Ford fascination with alliteration. A few people might remember (aka loathe) the "Festiva," which was a completely different animal, but not many. Even fewer will remember the original Fiesta. Moreover, keeping the name retains 30 years of brand equity (at least in Europe), which we know Alan Mulally is keen on.

The new Fiesta looks fantastic and should wipe the floor with the ugly Yaris and boxy Fit.


February 16, 2008 1:10 PM

I think we've got a winner!!

munidas pereira M.B.A (McGill)

February 16, 2008 6:05 PM

There are many attributes that sell a car. Reilability, style ergonomics, performance, handling,price, fuel economy are important. The name is a minor attribute. Since the writer refers to the 2008 Chev Malibu which is a car that can compete on most of these attributes, GM should try to get consumers into a Chev showroom to try out this car prior to making a purchase decision on a competing model. Changing the name is trivial.


February 16, 2008 7:29 PM

Ford stands for one thing, JUNK!!!!

You would think they could build a better product for the rate they pay average employee's, $80.00 per hour. $80,000 for a FORD?????????????

Sandra Strudthoff

February 18, 2008 4:27 PM

At first glance it looked like a chrysler product, where they put the ford symble, it made it look like wings on both sides. Exactly how the chrystler looks. I am not sure if it looks different in real life, but that was my first thought. Other than that the article was great and so true.


February 18, 2008 4:34 PM

Honda seems to have the opposite problem to Ford: instead of giving one name to different cars, it gives the same car different names. The US Fit is the European Jazz--a much nicer name, in my view.

Mathias Kerekes

February 18, 2008 6:53 PM

In the late seventies when I lived fify miles, one way, from my employer I purchased a new Fiesta. After racking up 100,000 miles in three years the Fiesta was turned over to my colledge bound daughter who used it for four more years. It later found it's way to
colledge again with my niece, for four more years. The "Fiesta" name brings back a nostalgic era in my family and should do well again after it is reintroduced in the U.S.


February 19, 2008 4:43 AM



February 21, 2008 3:03 PM

Using the writer's theory on changing the name of a 'bad' car (old GM Malibu), wouldn't GM have to change the name of every car when they roll out a revision?


February 23, 2008 11:39 AM

Wow, I totally agree with the first comment 110%. Every time GM or Ford comes out with a new stylish product that gets competitive gas mileage and looks like a Honda or Toyota, they get booed to no end. A perfect example is the Fusion. It was proved to beat the Camry in quality and safety, and the Honda in performance, but all I still hear is the normal statements saying that it's simply a Ford and because it has a blue oval on it, it won't do good. It's pretty much like saying "Screw the facts and millions of articles about this vehicle, I'm selfish and I'm going with my own opinion." Heck, just put a blue oval on a Honda Accord and then nobody will buy it. That's how completely selfish our country has become.


March 4, 2008 11:20 AM

Whatever it takes to get GM and Ford to bring their European compacts to the states is fine by me. Same names, same content, same details please!!! And include some diesels in the mix too - okay??? All diesels are not created equal and the examples found in freight trains and the large pickups are not the same as the small car diesels found in compact cars around the world.


April 18, 2008 5:45 PM

my favorite car is lamborgini embolado


May 14, 2008 10:32 PM

They do make a 4 door! I still like my Focus ('05 hatchback) better than this though.



September 8, 2008 11:16 AM

I don't understand America's fear of hatchbacks or diesels. Or small, well-engineered compact cars, for that matter. You guys wait until YOU'RE paying $5.17 a gallon for gas (and we don't live that far away from you!) and tell me how you feel then.

Your Neighbours to the North

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