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Ford Sees Fiesta as an American Idol

New subcompact getting high-profile launch.

by on May.18, 2010

"It's a big deal," declares the new advertising tagline for the 2011 Ford Fiesta.

It’s the goal of every automaker, to turn a new product into something that rises above the rest of a crowded market, and Ford is hoping to turn the 2011 Fiesta subcompact into an American idol by launching the new car with a high-profile ad campaign centered around the show, American Idol.

The markting campaign is a critical step in introducing the market to what one senior Ford offical describes as “the biggest launch of the year” for the company, during a preview of the new Fiesta advertising.

Such an effort might have been unlikely in years past.  Indeed, the 2011 Fiesta will be the first subcompact Ford has offered in the United States since 1977.  Traditionally, small cars have been money losers for American manufacturers, and only offered if a company like Ford felt they were needed to lure new, young buyers into the corporate

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The maker is betting Fiesta, which starts at $13,994, is different.  For one thing, it was developed as a global vehicle, rather than just for the U.S. market, so that helped hold down R&D costs.  About 80% of the components used on the American version of the subcompact are shared with the model sold in Europe, significantly improving economies of scale.  And Ford is hoping to break the traditional link between vehicle size and price by offering a range of up-market options that can push the actual transaction price for a well-equipped Fiesta to well above $20,000.