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Ford Fiesta Timeline: 35 Years of Production

Ford NZ today shared a very interesting note displaying the timeline of Ford Fiesta during the past 35 years.


Ford Fiesta, the starting MSRP of which is 13,200, started its production 35 years ago in Valencia, Spain. Nearly 15 million Fiestacars have been produced across the planet, six generations of it made in Europe. Ford still gives minor updates to the car as the sales are still going strong.

The company probably could have not predicted the phenomenal success for its Fiestas when it launched the car in 1976. It had a striking appearance and the success is still unfolding after more than three decades.

While the production began in 1976, the legacy goes back even further. The following timeline offers a glimpse into the Fiesta’s rich history. The timeline is posted on Ford NZ's Facebook pate.*

Fiesta conceived as secret Project Bobcat to create a new Ford small car for the world, a mission close to the heart of Ford Chairman Henry Ford II. Work begins in Europe and America to develop the new small car, ranging from its mechanical architecture and design elements to market positioning

Fuel crisis rocks the world, adding urgency to Ford’s vision to create a fuel-efficient, practical small car. Ford Board of Directors gives go-ahead to produce a new small car, codenamed Bobcat

Construction of Ford’s new 2.7 million square metre Valencia manufacturing complex begins

Engine production begins at Valencia. Fiesta name chosen personally by Henry Ford II for its alliteration with Ford, its spirit and its celebration of Ford’s new connection with Spain

Production of new Fiesta begins in Valencia, Spain in May. Fiesta initially available in 1.0-litre and 1.1-litre Ghia versions. Ford Chairman Henry Ford II and King Juan Carlos of Spain open. Ford’s new Valencia Assembly plant to launch volume production of the Ford Fiesta on October 18, 1976. Ghia reveals the first two Fiesta-based concept cars – the Corrida and the Prima – at the Turin Motor Show in November

Ford introduces larger displacement 1.3-litre version of the Fiesta including sporty new S model and a Ghia version. Export of Fiesta models for the US market begins. Fiesta named Spain’s Car of the Year

Fiesta wins British Design Council Efficiency Award. Ford prepares Group 5 rally competition version of the Fiesta

Millionth Fiesta built for worldwide sales. Special sporty version enters Monte Carlo Rally – this would become the inspiration for the Fiesta XR2. Faberge Fiesta Ladies’ Challenge racing series announced in London by Jackie Stewart

Ford conceives Fiesta Challenge races to create sporting connection for Fiesta.

Ford introduces the new Fiesta XR2 with a 1.6-litre engine, stiffer suspension, unique perforated alloy wheels and styling treatments, including available auxiliary driving lamps. This was the first 160km/h (100mph) Fiesta. One millionth Spanish Fiesta completed at Ford’s Valencia Assembly Plant. Two millionth Fiesta of European production rolls of line at Saarlouis, Germany

Fiesta is best-selling car in its class in Britain and Germany for six years running. Ghia introduces Fiesta-based Shuttler Concept

Aerodynamic new Fiesta MkII introduced. This new model was longer and more fuel efficient, available in 1.0-litre and 1.1-litre. 1.3-litre model launched with a fifth gear. Fiesta 1.6-litre diesel introduced. This overhead-cam, indirect injection engine would become a mainstay of the Ford line-up for more than a decade

XR2 version of new Fiesta introduced with 1.6-litre, single-overhead-cam engine and 5-speed gearbox, plus low-profile tyres, improved suspension and brakes. Production milestone of three million reached. First Fiesta runs on lead-free petrol

Ghia Urby Concept debuts, another vision inspired by Fiesta

Two millionth Fiesta completed at Valencia
Lean-burn 1.4-litre petrol engine introduced

CTX continuously variable transmission added to the Fiesta range
Best sales year in Britain with 158,000 Fiestas sold

Fiesta MkIII launched with anti-lock brakes and lean-burn engines, in 1.0-litre and 1.1-litre versions. New Fiesta featured a longer and wider body shape and an increased wheelbase. It was available for the first time as a five-door model, augmenting the venerable three-door shape
Fiesta is first small car with ABS
In Cologne, the new Fiesta became the work of art as the Goldener Vogel (“golden bird”) atop the tower of a city museum, the creation of action artist H. A. Schult. The small car with the powerful eagle wings would become a favourite of the Cologners and popular sight for tourists
New trim level LX joins range between Fiesta L and Fiesta Ghia
Fiesta MkIII adds 1.4-litre – the first Ford engine to meet pending European emissions standards due to take effect in 1996 – and 1.6-litre engine options
Fiesta XR2i joins the range later in the year with new 1.6-litre twin cam engine and 5-speed gearbox as the range’s hot hatch. The XR2i featured flared wheel arches, body-colour bumpers and unique trim, plus unique suspension and tyres

Introduction of Fiesta RS Turbo at Turin Motor Show. Using the XR2i engine with an intercooled Garrett turbocharger, the Fiesta RS Turbo was 1.6 seconds quicker than XR2i to 100km/h (62mph)

Valencia celebrates production of the three-millionth Fiesta in Spain. Vehicle is donated to the Queen Sofia Fund
Banner year – best to date – for Fiesta sales of 624,186 units Europe-wide
Ford Fiesta Courier van introduced

Fiesta RS 1800 introduced. Powered by a 16-valve 1.8-litre engine with improved hot hatch handling, plus five-spoke alloy wheels and a body-colour spoiler
Introduction of 1.8-litre, 16-valve Zetec engine
Fiesta is official vehicle of Expo 92 in Seville, Spain
Fiesta sales in Europe achieve their historical peak – 648,781 Fiestas sold

Driver airbag becomes standard

Fiesta tops a half-million units with calendar year registrations of 548,046

European consumers register 540,052 Fiesta cars and Fiesta Courier vans

Introduction of the new Fiesta MkIV with all-new rounded, aerodynamic shape and oval grille. Available with 1.25-litre, 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre engines, plus a 1.8-litre diesel. Dual airbags standard
Fiesta celebrates another 600,000-plus year in total sales
Fiesta number four million comes off the assembly line in Valencia

Ford Puma sports coupe, created from Fiesta architecture, introduced

Libre Concept based on Fiesta

World premiere of the new look Fiesta and the brand new Ford Fiesta Sport at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show

Fiesta gets 1.8-litre turbodiesel engine

All-new Fiesta MkV introduced at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show
Production begins in Cologne and Valencia of the new Ford Fiesta

All-new Ford Fiesta launched initially in the five-door version with a new line-up of engines, including the new Duratec 1.3-litre and the 1.6-litre 16-valve Duratec petrol engines
Fiesta three-door model and the range’s 1.4-litre Duratec petrol engine and new 1.4-litre Duratorq TDCi common rail diesel engine
Durashift EST automatic shifting manual transmission introduced
Ford RallyeConcept introduced at Birmingham Motor Show
New Ford Fiesta wins Germany’s prestigious “Golden Steering Wheel” award from best-selling Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag

Fiesta ST Cup introduced in German touring car racing

Fiesta JWRC Concept revealed at the Geneva Motor Show

150PS Fiesta ST launched – most powerful Fiesta to date – as the first production offering of Ford Team RS
Fiesta S “warm hatch” introduced
Best sales year for Fiesta since 1998 with 358,931 registrations recorded across Europe

Fiesta launched with voice activation and Bluetooth
The Fiesta Sporting Trophy, a new Ford rally one-make championship based around the FIA World Rally Championship, is launched

Limited edition Fiesta Zetec S 30th Anniversary launched in Radian Yellow with a chequered roof
Ford Verve concept debuts at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show

All-new Fiesta MkVI unveiled at Geneva Motor Show
MkVI Fiesta goes into production in Cologne, Germany, Valencia, Spain and Nanjing, China, with new 1.6-litre Duratec Ti-VCT petrol and sub-100g/km 1.6-litre Duratec diesel engines
Fiesta ECOnetic becomes the UK’s most fuel efficient 5-seat family car with 76.3mpg consumption and CO2 emissions of 98g/km

Fiesta makes North American debut at the LA Auto Show
Fiesta’s Kinetic Design styling wins the “red dot” design award

Fiesta is the best-selling vehicle in Europe in first quarter with 140,496 cars sold in first three months and 68,630 in March alone
Fiesta’s 1.6-litre Duratorq TDCi engine sees power increase to 95PS and three petrol engine options benefit from CO2 emission reductions
Fiesta RS World Rally Car previews at the Paris Motor Show

Fiesta S1600 special edition debuts most powerful engine yet with 1.6-litre, 134PS Duratec Ti-VCT
Fiesta RS World Rally Car makes its competitive debut with a clean sweep of the podium at Rally Sweden
Current generation Fiesta achieves production milestone as the one millionth example leaves the production line in Cologne
Fiesta celebrates 35th anniversary by achieving a total of 15 million sales worldwide and benefits from interior and exterior upgrades and revisions

*Image and timeline reference: Ford NZ