DETROIT -- The new Ford Fiesta small car is either right on schedule or a few weeks late, depending on who's talking.
Ford says the car is on schedule for a promised “summer” launch. Ford is shipping the cars this week from an assembly plant in Mexico.
But some customers and dealers say the car was due to arrive weeks ago.
On Ford's Fiesta Facebook page, some customers awaiting their pre-ordered car vented about it being at least two weeks late. One complained of Ford's lack of communication about the holdup. Ford insists both accusations are inaccurate.
“We've been very transparent with our customers who've made pre-orders,” said Angie Kozleski, a Ford spokeswoman. “We have a reservations call center and a reservations hotline. In the case of this vehicle, there's been a lot of communication with them.”
Kozleski said there are no production problems at the plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico, where Ford began production of the Fiesta in May. It takes two to three weeks to transport the Fiestas from the plant just to the U.S. border, she added.
“We are not late. We've said summer,” Kozleski said. “We have processes in place, and we make sure our vehicles are of the highest quality when they leave the plant. They are on their way to dealers.”
The Fiesta will arrive in showrooms in the “next several weeks” -- likely to dealerships in the South and Southwest first, Kozleski said.
Dealers can track their orders through a computer system and get approximate delivery dates. One dealer, who requested anonymity, said the six Fiestas he had ordered were supposed to arrive a week ago. He said the cars have not been released for shipping yet. He doesn't have any pre-orders, so no customers are complaining yet. But he would like to start selling the cars soon.
'We're waiting for them'
Jordan Ford in Live Oak, Texas, outside San Antonio, awaits eight Fiestas it ordered that it says were supposed to arrive at the end of May. Three of them are already sold.
“We're waiting for them to get here,” said Jerry Strain, Jordan Ford's marketing director. “Our salesmen have completed their training, and people are coming in here asking us about the Fiesta daily. It'd be nice to say, ‘We have 30 or 40 of them out there and go pick one out.'”
Strain said the customers awaiting the pre-orders have been patient because he warned them the cars might not arrive until the end of June.
“It's always better to make sure they understand what it could be rather than what it should have been,” Strain said.
Ford has approximately 2,000 early orders for the car. Ford's Kozleski said those are orders from customers who put money down to buy the Fiesta.