OFFICIAL: Ford Fiesta – Britain’s most-owned car – to be axed in June 2023


Ford has confirmed that Britain’s most-owned car, the Fiesta, will be discontinued next year, with production of the volume-selling supermini ending in June 2023.

Following speculation yesterday about the model’s demise, Ford has now officially announced that the brand’s best-seller is being axed as the company ‘accelerates’ its plans to become fully electric.

The Fiesta first arrived in 1976 and Ford has produced more than 22 million examples for the worldwide market across nine generations.

The plucky small Ford has topped Britain’s sales charts 16 times in its history, amassing over 4.8million UK sales in total.  

With 1.54million registered on the road last year, it is the nation’s most common car, though has been forced aside by Ford’s plans to go electric in the lead up to the 2030 ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars.

It’s officially the end of the road for the Fiesta: Ford has confirmed on Wednesday that the supermini – which is Britain’s most-owned car – will cease production at the end of June 2023 with the model scrapped as part of the company’s electrification plans 

Despite the Fiesta remaining the best-selling car for over a decade up to 2020, Ford today confirms that production of the model will finish at the brand’s factory in Cologne, Germany, ‘by the end of June 2023’. 

It already stopped building three-door examples in the spring, and has not made a diesel-engined Fiesta since October 2020.

Ford will also be ceasing outputs of its S-Max and Galaxy people carriers in April 2023 in response to a market shift away from MPVs to larger SUVs.

In a statement, Ford said: ‘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.

‘As we get ready to transition to an electric future, we will discontinue production of S-Max and Galaxy in Valencia, Spain in April 2023 and discontinue Fiesta production in Cologne, Germany by end of June 2023.’

The company’s official Twitter account posted: ‘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.’

It then added: ‘As one era ends, another is just getting started – and we can’t wait to show you what we’ve got coming,’ with the tweet signed off with a plug and bolt of lightning emoji, hinting towards the electric replacement that will ultimately follow.

Henry Ford II pictured standing alongside a Fiesta S in 1976, the year the car was first launched to the market

Henry Ford II pictured standing alongside a Fiesta S in 1976, the year the car was first launched to the market

A 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

A 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

In 1979 Ford produced the one millionth Fiesta

The two millionth example followed well before the second-generation Fiesta arrived in 1983

by 1979, Ford had produced its one millionth Fiesta for worldwide sales. The two millionth example followed well before the second-generation Fiesta arrived in 1983

The Design Council awarded Ford in 1979 for making a 'detailed and calculated attempt to reduce the maintenance and repair costs' of the Mk1 Fiesta

The Design Council awarded Ford in 1979 for making a ‘detailed and calculated attempt to reduce the maintenance and repair costs’ of the Mk1 Fiesta   

A 1982 Fiesta Bravo II manual. Neither the Fiesta nor the Ford Focus have appeared in the list of best-selling cars in the UK this year

A 1982 Fiesta Bravo II manual. Neither the Fiesta nor the Ford Focus have appeared in the list of best-selling cars in the UK this year

Fiestas are widely considered Britain’s favourite model and had 12 consecutive years as the number one bestseller from 2009 to 2020.

It was knocked off the top spot last year by the Vauxhall Corsa, with Ford opting to prioritise its commercial vehicle production on the back of higher demand during parts supply shortages resulting from the Covid pandemic. 

DVLA records for last year showed that of the 39.2million licensed vehicles of all types on the road in Great Britain, 1.54million were Fiestas. The larger Focus was second with 1.3million on UK roads in 2021.

There have been seven generations of the popular car since it was launched in the summer of 1976.

SEVEN GENERATIONS OF FORD FIESTA IN PICTURES 

The same year the diminutive Ford hit showrooms a Fiesta appeared alongside Roger Moore in James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.

Other celebs associated with it include two-time Academy award-winner Renee Zellweger, who is said to drive one, and Idris Elba, who worked on the Fiesta plant for two years before he found fame.

The car was built at a plant in Dagenham until 2002, before production moved to Germany. 

The Cologne site where the Fiesta is currently assembled is set to become an electric-only car plant as part of Ford’s shift to battery vehicles. 

Best-selling new cars in the UK for the last 50 years

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

*figures not confirmed 

TV presenter and glamour model Nell McAndrew pictured during Ford's 30-year anniversary celebrations for the Fiesta in 2006

TV presenter and glamour model Nell McAndrew pictured during Ford’s 30-year anniversary celebrations for the Fiesta in 2006

Fiestas are widely considered Britain's favourite car and had 12 consecutive years as the number one bestseller. Last year, some 1.54m licensed examples were on the road, which is more than any other passenger car

Fiestas are widely considered Britain’s favourite car and had 12 consecutive years as the number one bestseller. Last year, some 1.54m licensed examples were on the road, which is more than any other passenger car 

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'

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 Fiesta has been a star on the track as well as the road. Pictured, an M-Sport Fiesta in action at the WRC Vodafone Rally Portugal 2016

The Fiesta has for years offered up-and-coming racers an affordable way onto circuits with single-make championships. Pictured, a Fiesta Cup Racing battle tacking place at Germany's Norisring circuit in 1991 during a DTM touring car weekend

The Fiesta has been a star on the track as well as the road. Pictured left: An M-Sport Fiesta in action at the WRC Vodafone Rally Portugal 2016. Pictured right: A Fiesta Cup Racing battle tacking place at Germany’s Norisring circuit in 1991 during a DTM touring car weekend

The Ford Fiesta hasn't only been popular among the public but also the police, with the car used by the police through various generations

The Ford Fiesta hasn’t only been popular among the public but also the police, with the car used by the police through various generations

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

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

Fiesta isn’t part of Ford’s bold electrification plans

Ford. which is the UK’s most popular car brand, 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 all-electric only. 

The Mustang Mach-e is already on sale while a Puma EV and two mid-size crossovers are expected to follow. 

New electric models will be produced as part of Ford’s recent partnership with German powerhouse Volkswagen, which will see the two automotive giants work on joint projects for electric cars and vans.

The first of the two new crossovers It will be built at Ford’s new electric-only state-of-the-art manufacturing centre in Cologne, Germany, and should be in production and on sale from next year.

Ford's electric push: The US brand confirmed earlier this year that it will launch seven new EVs in Europe by 2024, taking its zero-emission line-up to nine cars by 2024. The Mustang Mach-E and E-Transit are already on sale

Ford’s electric push: The US brand confirmed earlier this year that it will launch seven new EVs in Europe by 2024, taking its zero-emission line-up to nine cars by 2024. The Mustang Mach-E and E-Transit are already on sale

Three of the new EVs launched in the next two years will be cars, which will join Ford's Mustang Mach-E SUV (pictured) as part of its expanding electric line-up

Three of the new EVs launched in the next two years will be cars, which will join Ford’s Mustang Mach-E SUV (pictured) as part of its expanding electric line-up

Ford promises it will have a full-charge battery range of 500km (311 miles) and its name will be revealed later in 2022. VW’s ID.4, with the 77kWh Pro Performance battery, has a claimed range of 320 miles.

The second EV model – also produced in Cologne – will follow in 2024, which is being described as a ‘sports crossover’ – likely a coupe version of the SUV arriving a year before.

The Ford Puma EV – a fully-electric version of the existing compact SUV – will arrive in 2024 and be built at the brand’s manufacturing plant in Craiova, Romania

There is already an electric version of Ford’s iconic Transit vans, with a smaller E-Transit Custom coming soon and another two battery-only commercial vehicles to arrive in the next two years.

The Cologne factory, where the Fiesta is currently produced, will become an electric-only state-of-the-art manufacturing centre (pictured), spelling the endo of the petrol-powered supermini

The Cologne factory, where the Fiesta is currently produced, will become an electric-only state-of-the-art manufacturing centre (pictured), spelling the endo of the petrol-powered supermini

Ford. which is the UK's most popular car brand, 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 all-electric only

Ford. which is the UK’s most popular car brand, 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 all-electric only

The company axed its Mondeo model earlier this year and production will cease on the popular Ford Focus family hatchback in 2025.

A spokesman responded to reports of the Fiesta exiting the market yesterday, saying that the brand has been ‘looking at all possibilities for its future portfolio of all-electric vehicles’. 

News today confirms the Fiesta is no longer part of its plans moving towards the 2030 deadline for sales of new petrol and diesel cars.

Fiesta hasn’t been the nation’s best-selling new car for two years – here’s why…

Ford – like all other car makers – has faced major supply chain issues in recent months and was even forced to temporarily stop Fiesta orders in June as a result of the shortage of components – namely computer chips used to power electronic features.

As well as a shortage of semiconductors, vehicle manufacturing has also hit a road block due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has limited the availability of wiring looms in particular.

This forced car makers into prioritising its outputs, with Ford identifying the greater need for vans – especially with the rising demand for delivery services during the pandemic – as the most lucrative option.

As a result, production of its market-leading Transits have taken precedence over some of its passenger cars, named the Fiesta.

The Fiesta's reign as Britain's most-bought new car ran from 2009 to 2020. It is still the most commonly bought used model in the UK today

The Fiesta’s reign as Britain’s most-bought new car ran from 2009 to 2020. It is still the most commonly bought used model in the UK today

While the Fiesta was the sixth best-selling new car in September, it hasn't amounted enough registrations to break back into the top 10 most popular models of 2022

While the Fiesta was the sixth best-selling new car in September, it hasn’t amounted enough registrations to break back into the top 10 most popular models of 2022

An insider described the move as a 'strategic decision' by the company to move its style more towards crossovers. Already, the Puma SUV (right) - which shares its platform with Fiesta (left) - is outselling the supermini and is the third most-bought new car in 2022

An insider described the move as a ‘strategic decision’ by the company to move its style more towards crossovers. Already, the Puma SUV (right) – which shares its platform with Fiesta (left) – is outselling the supermini and is the third most-bought new car in 2022

When the pandemic struck and caused a short supply of semiconductor chips, Ford opted to prioritise its commercial vehicle production on the back of higher demand for delivery services. This saw the Transit Custom van (background) out-sell not just the Fiesta but every passenger car last year

When the pandemic struck and caused a short supply of semiconductor chips, Ford opted to prioritise its commercial vehicle production on the back of higher demand for delivery services. This saw the Transit Custom van (background) out-sell not just the Fiesta but every passenger car last year

This has seen the supermini and the larger Ford Focus disappear from the list of best-selling cars in the UK this year. 

However, the Puma SUV – which shares a platform with the Fiesta but is higher off the ground – is the nation’s third most-popular new passenger car with 27,680 registrations by the end of September, which is around 1,500 fewer than the Corsa in the number one spot.

With rising demand for crossover models like the Puma, Ford sees a longer future for these cars than its conventional hatchbacks. 

Meanwhile, Ford’s Transit Custom remains by far Britain’s best-selling vehicle, with more new versions hitting the road in 2022 than even the Corsa. 

Some 33,564 Transit Customs have been bought this year compared to just 29,342 examples of the Vauxhall supermini. A further 25,178 units of the larger one-tonne Transit have been registered this year. 

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 and travel in convoy

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 and travel in convoy 

Ford will bid farewell to all three current versions of the Fiesta: the conventional five-door hatchback (left); a higher-riding Fiesta Active crossover; and the Fiesta ST hot hatch, which is regarded as one of the best affordable performance cars on sale

Ford will bid farewell to all three current versions of the Fiesta: the conventional five-door hatchback (left); a higher-riding Fiesta Active crossover; and the Fiesta ST hot hatch, which is regarded as one of the best affordable performance cars on sale

But while it might not be the most in-demand new car, the Fiesta is still Britain’s most popular used motor. 

Official records help by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that 71,429 examples of the supermini changed hands in Britain last year – more than any other model. And the South East of England bought the most second-hand examples of the car.

So far this year the plucky little Ford has appeared in 108.000 adverts on leading online vehicle marketplace, Auto Trader marketplace. This is followed by the Volkswagen Golf with 86,000 advertisements and then the Ford Focus with 85,000.

 Although it’s sad to see such an icon disappear from the market, it should enable one of the biggest car brands to really knuckle down on EVs and make them more accessible to more car buyers

On average, car buyers on Auto Trader have a choice of 10,726 Ford Fiestas for sale at any one time, it says, and in the last month there have been over 43million advert views of second-hand listings on the site.

There have also been another 700,000 advert views of new Fiestas in the same period.

Erin Baker, editorial director at Auto Trader described the Fiesta’s expected demise as a ‘shame to see’, describing the model as one of Britain’s ‘iconic cars’. 

‘Our data shows that the Fiesta was the most advertised car on our marketplace this year with over 100,000 listings. In fact, since 2019 we’ve seen over half a million Fiestas advertised on our platform, which really does highlight just how beloved it is,’ she explained. 

‘Interestingly enough, we identified a Fiesta capital of Britain when looking into the data, it shows that the people in the South East of England have a particular soft spot for this car. 

‘Although it’s sad to see such an icon disappear from the market, it should enable one of the biggest car brands to really knuckle down on EVs and make them more accessible to more car buyers, which is a very positive step in the right direction.’

Government’s 2030 ban on new diesel and petrol car sales

A ban on new diesel and petrol car sales from 2030 was announced by Boris Johnson’s government as part of its wider plan for a ‘green industrial revolution’ in November 2020.  

The measure is a major part of ministers’ efforts to meet the target of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. 

Earlier this month, Transport Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan doubled down on the ban, saying it will go ahead.

The decision comes despite concerns that a global shortage of computer chips since the start of the pandemic – as well as problems producing enough batteries – could impact the growth of the electric vehicle market.

Earlier this year, the Department for Transport set out a proposed timeline for a Zero Emission Vehicle mandate (ZEV), which scheduled for 22 per cent of manufacturers’ new car sales to be zero emissions by 2024, rising to 33 per cent in 2026, 52 per cent in 2028 and 80 per cent in 2030.

There are similar targets for the sales of zero emission vans.

CARS & MOTORING: ON TEST

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