Ford is looking to capitalize on ever-changing buyer tastes by introducing a new, more value-oriented subcompact model to be sold alongside its Fiesta.
The global market Fiesta was among the earliest subcompact vehicles to move upmarket in terms of content, if not size. While that has historically worked well for Ford in Europe, the largest premium small car market in the world, a gloomy outlook has the automaker reconsidering its options, CEO Alan Mullaly said.
The chief executive told Automotive News that Ford is "looking around the world at opportunities to offer a car priced below the Fiesta."
Unlike France's Renault, which offers its Dacia line as a budget-priced alternative to cars like the Fiesta and the Opel Corsa in Europe, Ford is not looking to create another car brand. In fact, Mulally has whittled Ford down to just two main brands globally, only one of which - its namesake Ford division - is sold in Europe.
Mulally referred to the new Fiesta-sized subcompact as its "value B" model, a name that refers to the industry term "B segment" for the subcompact class. The car would have to be considerably more basic than the Fiesta to be sold profitably.
While it's unlikely that the cheaper subcompact would be sold in the United States alongside the Fiesta, we wouldn't rule out the possibility. Fiesta sales are down more than 25 percent so far this year in the U.S., while the larger Focus compact is up about 32 percent.