- New 2011 Ford Fiesta hatchback sales are countering conventional wisdom about hatch popularity in the U.S. market; Ford also is preparing to launch its all-new Focus in both hatch and sedan bodystyles
- When Focus goes on sale, Ford will be the only full-line auto manufacturer to offer its B- and C-segment small cars in both sedan and hatch bodystyles in the U.S. market
- American buyers may be showing shift to the utility of hatch configurations seen in other countries; European hatch take rates approach 99 percent in C-segment vehicles
DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 28, 2010 – The hot new Ford Fiesta is defying conventional wisdom about hatchback cars in the American marketplace.
Ford sales figures show more than 60 percent of early Fiesta sales have been five-door hatchback models – a take rate that is bucking the national hatchback trend of just 8.3 percent in the 2009 model year, according to Wardsauto.com, a leading industry trade publication that tracks bodystyle trends.
The numbers also bolster Ford’s decision to offer the all-new Focus, to be shown in Paris on Sept. 30, in both hatch and sedan variants in the U.S. market. The addition of Focus will make Ford the only full-line vehicle manufacturer to offer both sedan and hatchback versions of its B- and C-car lineup in America.
“American car buyers have grown accustomed to the convenience of hatch bodystyles after years of owning SUVs and crossovers,” said George Pipas, Ford sales analyst. “Combined with a generation of younger drivers who have been exposed via the Internet to popular high-performance hatchback offerings in Europe and Asia, we may be seeing the beginning of a shift in buyer acceptance of hatchbacks.”
European buyers have long had an affinity for hatch bodystyles. Ford C-segment sales data, covering Focus-sized vehicles, show a whopping 99 percent of the total European market is dominated by vehicle configurations with a hatch.
As Ford continues to roll out global vehicle platforms like Fiesta and the next-generation Focus, the company is investing in flexible plant capacity. The flexibility will ensure Ford is able to react quickly to changing tastes, providing a vehicle mix – hatchback or sedan, base model or fully loaded – to serve varied consumer demands around the world.
In addition to its 60/40 hatchback/sedan sales split, Fiesta buyers have also shown some unique preferences reflecting a shift in small car mentality. Both hatchback and sedan versions of Fiesta are proving popular when heavily optioned, contrary to the traditional American-market perception of the small car as entry-level commuter vehicle. Sales as of early September reflect the following:
- Among Fiesta models on which it’s offered, more than 50 percent of buyers choose leather seating surfaces; nearly half of all Fiestas have heated seats
- Ford SYNC® is featured on 80 percent of Fiesta models
- Nearly 80 percent of Fiestas come equipped with the premium six-speaker sound system; more than half also include SIRIUS® Satellite Radio
- Among Fiesta models on which it’s offered, 80 percent are equipped with keyless entry with push-button start
- Nearly 24 percent of all Fiestas have a moonroof
- Top Fiesta colors, in order, are Lime Squeeze, Blue Flame Metallic, Monterey Gray, Red Candy and Black
Behind the shift in bodystyle and content levels are younger customers who have no memory of the gas crisis – and its attendant automotive sacrifices – that early hatchbacks were associated with. But they’re also not willing to make similar sacrifices in their small cars.
“Growing up in well-equipped SUVs and crossovers, many of the younger buyers choosing Fiesta are accustomed to amenities,” said Pipas. “This car is full of surprising features particularly for its class, and buyers are responding, finding that a Fiesta with all the technology and convenience features they’re used to is fun to drive and well within their budget.”