The Millionth Ford Fiesta | January 9th, 1979 | Today in Ford Motor Company History

History of the Ford Fiesta

On January 9th, 1979, in just 33 months after its launch, the millionth Ford Fiesta was produced at the company’s facility in Cologne, Germany, breaking all previous European production records.

The Fiesta was developed under the project name “Bobcat” and was approved for production by Henry Ford II in 1972. It was designed to be a small, fuel-efficient car in the supermini segment, with a longer wheelbase than the Fiat 127 but shorter overall length than the Ford Escort.

1979 Ford Fiesta

The project was a collaboration between Ford’s engineering centers in Cologne and Dunton, England, and final assembly took place in Valencia, Spain. The name “Fiesta,” which means “party” in Spanish, was freely given to Ford by General Motors, who used it as a trim level on Oldsmobile estate models.

The car was subject to a series of press leaks in 1975 and was officially launched in France and Germany in September 1976, with right-hand drive versions available in the UK in January 1977. Its initial competitors included the Volkswagen Polo, Vauxhall Chevette, and Renault 5, with the Chrysler Sunbeam and British Leyland’s Austin Metro entering the market later.



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