DEARBORN – Shipments ofMotor Co.’s new Fiesta B-segment car being built in Mexico and due to arrive at U.S. dealer showrooms this month are not completely stalled by hurricane-damaged railroad lines in the country, Ford’s top sales analyst says.
East Coast Fiesta arrivals by ship at a port in Baltimore are unaffected and will be used to serve the market for the time being, George Pipas tells Ward’s at a media event here today.
He says 15,000 Fiesta units have been produced through June at’s Cuautitlan plant near Mexico City, and 9,800 are scheduled to be built this month.
Dealers had asked Ford for 30,000 units of the much-anticipated new car, but the auto maker said it only could build so many at a time.
Many dealers say they have long waiting lists for the car, which has an estimated gas mileage of 29-40 mpg city/highway (8-6 L/100 km), but only one Fiesta on the lot to be used for demonstration drives. Ford reportedly says it has several thousand early orders with money down.
Bob Thibodeau of Bob Thibodeau Ford in Center Line, MI, is one of the lucky dealers whose Fiesta deliveries were not storm-delayed.
“I heard about the delays, and then we received three Fiestas in the last 12 hours, in addition to one we already had for demonstration purposes,” Thibodeau tells Ward’s. “I don’t know if we ducked the bullet or what, but we were happy to get them. They are all spoken-for.”
The Fiesta small-car has generated a lot of buzz leading up to its launch. It’s earned praise for its attractive exterior and well-appointed interior.
“It’s a great package,” Thibodeau says. “Small cars have come a long way. Believe it or not, I saw an original Fiesta from the 1980s on the freeway the other day. What a contrast from the one that’s entering the market now.”
Ford began marketing the new Fiesta, already on sale in Europe, in the U.S. last year with a social- media campaign on Facebook and Twitter, in which youthful car buyers were asked to take the car on road trips and report their experiences on YouTube.
Sam De La Garza, Fiesta brand manager, said in April that 11,000 customers already had ordered Fiestas, and the auto maker expected more than 2.5% would end up purchasing the vehicle.
The Fiesta sedan starts at $13,995, while the hatchback stickers at $15,795. That compares with theFit’s $14,900 starting price, the Yaris’ $12,605 sticker and the Versa’s $9,990.
– with Steve Finlay