History of the Ford Fiesta
A look at how the classic Ford Fiesta car was developed.
From origin to the latest release, an article on the extensive history of the Ford Fiesta.
First approved for development by Henry Ford II in 1972, the Ford Fiesta started life under the code name of “the Bobcat” and was first released onto the UK market in 1977 to critical acclaim. Although the Fiesta wasn’t the first Ford vehicle to feature front wheel drive (the Taurus produced by Ford of Germany in the 1960s was), the model is often attributed as being the manufacturer’s first globally successful front wheel drive car. Priced at £1,856 for the basic model with a 950cc engine, the Fiesta was an instant success in England, with the one millionth Fiesta produced in the country just two years later.
The second edition of the Fiesta (Fiesta Mark II) appeared in the summer of 1983 and featured a modified front end and dashboard. The MK I’s 1.3L engine was replaced with a 1.4 L engine in the MK II and the model could achieve an estimated top speed of 95mph on a flat surface. Although an initial success, by the end of the 1980s the Ford Fiesta was quickly being eclipsed by more contemporary models like the Vauxhall Nova which could offer an improved, more streamline driving experience. In 1989 the Mark III five door Ford Fiesta hatchback was released. Despite selling around one million copies in its first two years alone, the Mark III didn’t achieve critical acclaim from the motoring press and Ford were forced include a Zetec engine in 1992 and a range of safety features from the Ford Mondeo in 1994 to catch the public’s attention.
The Mark IV Ford Fiesta was released in 1995 and although the design was based on the Mark III’s chassis, much of the previous edition’s components had been revised and improved for the new model. In addition to the inclusion of Zetec engines and major changes to the chassis, the Mark IV also benefited from revamped interiors and exteriors. A revamped Mark IV was released in 1999 but it wasn’t until 2005 that history was made with the all new Mark V, which had absolutely no design links back to the original 1977 model. Heavily inspired by the successful Focus model, the Mark V Ford Fiesta model (known as the Mark VI in the UK) was the first Fiesta to feature an Anti-Lock Braking System and passenger air bags as standard. The first Fiesta to be sold in Asia and Australia, the Ford Fiesta Mark IV is the most successful Fiesta model to date.
The Mark VI (known in the UK as the Mark VII) was introduced as a concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2007 and was quickly followed by the green ECOnectic version in 2009. Today the Ford Fiesta remains one of the most popular family car options in the UK and is available to purchase or lease in a range of body types, including hatchback and estate.