SIENA, Italy -- Ford believes its latest Fiesta small car can beat the sales of the previous model even in a slowing European market.
The automaker aims to sell more than 400,000 Fiestas a year in Europe. Last year, Ford sold 378,200 Fiestas in the region.
Ingvar Sviggum, Ford of Europes head of sales, marketing and service, said the carmaker expects to sell more units of the new Fiesta than the current model.
The last Fiesta was a great success but we will improve annual sales with this model, Sviggum said.
He said the latest-generation Fiesta will appeal to the 12 million people who have bought the Fiesta since the first model was launched in 1976.
We have a huge owner body which has been very loyal to Fiesta, Sviggum told Automotive News Europe at an event here to launch the car.
We also want to target new conquest customers. The Fiesta will appeal to the current owner body as well as new customers.
Sviggum said the new Fiesta was better than the current model because of its sleek design, which uses Fords kinetic design as well as new powerful but fuel-efficient engines.
The sixth-generation Fiesta will launch in European markets in the coming months against a backdrop of falling new-car sales.
In the 28 markets covered by ACEA, the European manufacturers organization, sales fell 3.9 percent to 10.83 million cars in the first eight months.
Sviggum said Ford aims to improve its European market share, which currently is 8.3 percent, according to ACEA.
We cannot control the overall vehicle market, but we can control our market share. We are 100 percent focused on improving our market share and we have outstanding products to do that. We will be very disappointed if the new Fiesta does not sell more than its predecessor.
The new Fiesta will be built for European markets at Fords factories in Cologne, Germany and Valencia, Spain.
The car will also be the sold globally. By 2010, Ford will build the Fiesta in Mexico for the North American market. China production will start by end of the year at the Changan Ford Mazda Automobile plant in Nanjing.
Sviggum said production could be expanded to meet extra demand if necessary.
Lets launch it and make it a success, he said. If there are customers there is always potential to increase production.
E-mail John Revill at [email protected]