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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Ford Fiesta arrives, helps complete lineup

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Ford Fiesta arrives, helps complete lineup

BY BRENT SNAVELY

FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

The Ford Fiesta subcompact car began arriving at dealerships across the country earlier this week after a marketing campaign that began more than a year ago.

Tara Balogh-Niedermeier, 26, who picked up her black Fiesta on Friday at Gene Butman Ford in Ypsilanti, said she ordered her car in March before she even drove the vehicle or saw one in person.

• PHOTOS: Ford Fiesta Arrives at Dealers

"I liked the idea of getting something that would support an American car company as well as a car that would do well with gas," said Balogh-Niedermeier, who describes herself as an environmentalist.

The car is rated for 40 m.p.g. on the highway and 29 m.p.g. in the city with a six-speed automatic transmission.

She also said buying a car with a hatchback was a priority. As an art student, she said she needs to be able to easily fit her art portfolio as well as large art materials for her sculptures into her car.

The Fiesta is Ford's first subcompact car to be sold in the U.S. since 1997, and it's the first time Ford has sold a car bearing the Fiesta name since 1980 in the U.S.

Ford is building the car for North America at its plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico.

To raise awareness, Ford began a marketing campaign called Fiesta Movement in the spring of 2009, opened a Web site to begin taking orders in December and started a national advertising campaign several weeks ago.

So far, Ken Butman, owner of Gene Butman Ford, said only two Fiestas have arrived at his dealership but he is expecting about 20 more over the next 30 days.

The base model of the Fiesta sedan starts at $13,320 while the hatchback starts at $15,120, excluding destination charges.

Jessica Caldwell, automotive analyst for automotive Web site Edmunds.com, said the Fiesta helps complete Ford's lineup.

"It's definitely a great small car and it helps bring more variety" to Ford dealerships, Caldwell said. "They are not just going to be a truck-SUV company, and it lets them target a broader range of customers."

Through May, Ford sales are up 30.3%, with the gains fairly evenly split between cars and light trucks.

LINK:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100626/BUSINESS01/6260322/1331/Ford-Fiesta-arrives-helps-complete-lineup

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