Ford’s 40 years of success for phenomenal Fiesta

Ford Fiesta at Dagenham for the 40th anniversary.

Ford Fiesta at Dagenham for the 40th anniversary. - Credit: Ford

It's 40 years since Ford launched the Fiesta which has lived up to its supermini tag and become the the UK's most popular car every month for the last seven years and the UK's best-selling car of all time.

When Ford launched the Fiesta, 40 years ago, few could have predicted the phenomenal success story that was going to unfold over the coming decades.

In the 40 years since 1976, Ford sold 4,339,149 Fiestas in the UK alone, with European Fiesta sales set to pass 18 million before the end of this year. Over these four decades, more than one in every 20 cars sold in the UK was a Ford Fiesta.

In 2014, the Ford Fiesta became the UK's best-selling car of all time, overtaking the Ford Escort. It is not only the best-selling car in the UK this year, it has been the UK's most popular car every month for the last seven years.

To celebrate this success, and the range of vehicles produced over the years, 40 of the nation's favourite Fiestas travelled in convoy from the Ford Engine Plant in Dagenham to Brighton Race Course for the 2016 Ford Summer Festival – A celebration of all Ford models.

The Dagenham to Brighton drive was open to all Ford vehicles, each receiving a unique numbered plaque. Around 200 Fords took part with models ranging from Cortinas to Rangers, and to mark the occasion, numbers one to 40 were allocated to Fiestas from the past four decades.

The Ford Fiesta Mark I began production in the all-new Valencia factory in Spain in 1976 and sales in the UK started in 1977. Production versions of the Ford Fiesta Mark I took part in the Dagenham to Brighton drive.

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Ford of Britain chairman and managing director Andy Barratt said: 'The opportunity to have these wonderful heritage vehicles lined up next to our latest Fiestas, such as the ST200, is very rare and was fully appreciated by the Ford fans that made the 69-mile journey down to the festival.'

Also on display at Dagenham was a Mark IV 1.4 Fiesta Ghia – the 10 millionth Ford vehicle produced at Dagenham as well as the Mark VI World Rally Championship car.

The Fiesta Mark I owners' club was also involved in the drive, bringing with them a variety of sporty Fiesta models as well as a Mark II Fiesta Popular and a Mark I Fiesta van.

The chronological evolution of Fiesta was evident, from the early Mark I to the latest Mark VII, and the changes significant, both visually and technologically.

External design changes have been accompanied by new technologies, safety features and increased levels of equipment, many of which are now standard on the latest Fiesta, including air-conditioning, electric windows, Easy Fuel, electrically-operated and heated door mirrors and power-assisted steering.

Today's Fiesta, with a range of class-leading powertrains – including the multi-award winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost turbo petrol engine, can be ordered with heated seats, cruise control and integrated navigation system which can even include a rear-view camera.

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