Ford (F): OK, Fine, We'll Start Making Fuel-Efficient Cars In US, Too

And you thought American car companies were just stupid–making all those trucks and SUVs without ever figuring out how to make fuel efficient cars. Joke’s on you. Ford’s been making those cars for years…everywhere else in the world. And now, with a $120 oil gun at its head, it’s finally going to start making them here.

Ford (F) takes a major step in its post-$150-oil future today. It’s starting production of its new global subcompact, the Fiesta.

The Fiesta was launched in 1976 and has been a top seller in Europe. Now Ford plans to bring it to North America so it can finally compete in the subcompact market against Toyota’s Yaris, Honda’s Fit and Nissan’s Versa. The car won’t arrive in the US until 2010, of course, but the reeling company has to start somewhere.

Now that Ford has all but sworn off SUVs (we’ll see how long that lasts), the Fiesta is central to the company’s turnaround plan. The Fiesta will serve as a blueprint for Ford in its product development efforts, which include creating a global platform for the Focus. In the past, the compact Focus has not been built on the same basic car underbody/frame (“platform”) everywhere in the world.

There are many advantages to global platforms, which can:

  • decrease overall development costs
  • decrease overall purchasing costs
  • allow for greater flexibility between plants
  • allow for differing interiors, exterior colours and other options depending on regional customer preferences

Using the Fiesta platform, Ford hopes to have 1 million such cars on the road globally within 5 years.

The catch-up game continues.

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