Automotive Blog

Ford Fiesta quickly becomes America's favorite sub-compact

The 2011 Fiesta, Ford's first sub-compact since the Aspire was discontinued in 1998, is an overwhelming success. The Fiesta now accounts for almost 21% of the sub-compact car segment after just 10 months on the market, the highest segment share among the 12 sub-compacts. Also, the 8,107 Fiesta registrations in April mark the highest monthly sub-compact total in the last 19 months.

Model Share of Segment

Three reasons for the Fiesta's remarkable ascent include the fact that it offers some features not typically available in a sub-compact (keyless ignition and Ford’s Sync multimedia voice command system, among others), the fact that it is currently the only competitive subcompact offered by a domestic manufacturer (given the decline of the Chevrolet Aveo in anticipation of the launch of the Chevrolet Sonic this fall), and the concurrent success of the Fiesta's parent corporation and brand. The positive publicity that both the Ford Motor Company and the Ford make have received over the past 24 months has undoubtedly helped every Ford model.

Since the Fiesta's launch last summer, only two sub-compacts, the Mazda2 and Fiat 500, have enjoyed segment share increases, and both of these are new to the market, like the Fiesta. Two other subcompacts, the Versa and Fit, have managed to hold on to their shares, while all the rest have slipped. These declining models include the Aveo, Rio, Yaris and both Scions.

Segment Share of IndustryThe Fiesta has managed to make these strides in a segment that is not growing appreciably. Though sub-compacts gained share in 2008 when gas jumped to $5+ a gallon, since then the segment has retreated and remains below 4% of the industry.

The Fiesta will face stiff competition going forward. Re-designed versions of the Accent, Rio and Versa are either now arriving in showrooms or will arrive soon. And Chrysler has high hopes for the Fiat 500, which has received positive reviews. Also, this fall Chevrolet will introduce the all-new Sonic. Chevrolet hopes this vehicle, which will be the only sub-compact assembled in this country, will improve the make's share of segment following disappointing results for the Aveo.

Posted by Tom Libby, PolkInsight Advisor, Polk (07.05.2011)

About The Author

Manager, Loyalty Solutions and Industry Analysis

Tom currently uses his passion for the auto industry to serve as a Solutions Consultant for IHS Automotive's Loyalty Practice. His past roles here include Sr. Forecasting Analyst and PolkInsight Advisor (he worked for two years in Polk’s Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey office). Tom's other interests include reading, gardening, sailing and running. Aside from Detroit and New York, Tom has also lived in Los Angeles, Denver, and Boston, where he drove a taxi for two years. Tom has also traveled extensively in the United States and overseas, including an overland trip across Asia after graduating from college. Tom is inspired by people who practice what they preach and enjoys socializing with friends that he's met throughout his career and from school.

Tom is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Automotive Analysts (SAA). During the 2009 calendar year, Tom was President of that organization. He is an active member of the Automotive Press Association, and in the past has written a blog for the online version of the Detroit Free Press. Tom has a bachelor's degree in history from Amherst College, an MBA with a marketing concentration from Columbia University and once served as an Adjunct Professor of Market Research at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.