[Ford Fiesta I]

Ford Fiesta I > History > Histories > "Fiesta española."

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At the beginning of the 20th century Ford Motor Company was already established in Spain, with an agency in 19121 and the first aßembly factory 1919 in Cadiz.2 Economical and political reasons lead to the closing down auf the factory in Cadiz in 1923 und to the opening of another aßembly work in Barcelona. However, the sales succeßes of the earlier years did not continue. The worldwide economic crisis, the Second World War and most of all the protectionist economic policy under Franco made sales difficult und finally lead to the liquidation of Ford Motor Ibérica S.A. in 1954.3

[Bild: Almusafes]
The factory in Almusafes4
At the beginning of the 1970s Spain was the only Western European country in which Ford was not established. Even worse, the still protectionist economic policy prevented importation of larger numbers of cars: a maximum of 250 cars could be imported. Only vehicles built to a large degree in Spain could be sold in the country. Therefore Ford decided to build a factory in Spain. After more than three years of negotiation and after giving the aßent to build at least 250.000 cars a years and with it create 8.000 direct and 25.000 indirect jobs, Ford was allowed to do so. Among 14 poßible locations Almusafes (a few kilometres south of Valencia) was chosen. The area contained 636 individual plots, the owners of which each had to be convinced of selling their ground. During the preparations for building the new plant Ford held a competition called "The car you suggest". The majority of the participants wanted a resonably prices car with normal boot, which should be called - in this order - Hispania, Valencia or Iberia.5

[Bild: Bobcat]
The Spanish Ford: Bobcat6
In 1974 grading works began in Almusafes, and on 26. March Henry Ford II visited the site for the first time, on which a car and an engine plant were to be build. At the end of 74, it was announced that the name of the new model which should be build in Almusafes would be Bobcat. In fact, this was only the codename of the project. In March 1976 the engine plant began work, and six months later the first test cars left the aßembly line.7

On 18. October 1976 the first Fiesta left the production line, a whole month earlier than planned. A week later the recently-crowned king Juan Carlos and Henry Ford II opened the plants officially. In December 1976, the prices for the Fiesta and acceßories were as follows (in Pesetas, exchange rate as on 01.01.1977: 1000 Ptas. = 34,39 DEM = 8.55 £ = 14.51 $):8

  net groß
Fiesta 1.0 183.000 239.784
Fiesta 1.0 L 197.600 257.946
Fiesta 1.0 S 216.500 281.498
Fiesta 1.1 Ghia 239.300 309.861
Light metal rims   16.918
Vinyl top, black or beige   7.762
Bodyside trims   2.015
Sunroof   9.641
Reverse lights   1.729
Metallic finish   4.230
Radio   13.385
Halogen headlights   3.122

The Sport and Ghia option groups were delivered with the 1.1 l engine, the base and L models with the 1.0 LC or 1.0 HC engine. The price for both engines was the same, but the LC version needed regular petrol (22.75 Ptas./l), the HC super/premium (28 Ptas./l). Although Ford had been absent from the Spanish market for more than 20 years, and even now could offer only one car, the Fiesta immediately turned out to be a huge succeß and became reference for its claß. Altogether, 17.508 Fiestas were built in 1976, and the engine plant produced 150.000 engines, most of which were sent to Germany and the UK to be fitted into the Fiestas built there.9

[Bild: 100.000. Fiesta] [Bild: 1.000.000. Fiesta] [Bild: Verladung der Fiestas]
The 100.000th10 and the 1.000.000th11 Fiesta from Almusafes. The others were loaded onto ships.12

In June 1977 the 100.000th Fiesta left the plant, and at the end of the year 214.000 cars had been built, of which 150.000 were exported. In the meantime, a 2-shift-system had been introduced and more than 10.000 employees were working in Almusafes. Since the end of Juli the Fiesta 1300 was available in Sport and Ghia option groups.13

In 1978 the Fiesta was by far the most produced car in Spain with 258.000 cars (followed by the Seat 127 with 140.000 units). Moreover Ford was the largest exporter in Spain. Every day the cars which were to be loaded onto ships made a multicoloured mosaic on the quay. These cars were sent to Brasil, Argentina and some countries in Europe.14

On 2. January 1979 the 500.000th Fiesta was built, and on 4. July 1979 the 1.000.000th engine. At the end of 1979 the Fiesta GL was introduced as a level inbetween L and Ghia. Altogether 232.432 cars and 364.572 engines were built in 1979.15

Apart from the records as most procuced and most exported car the Fiesta was the most sold car in Spain in 1980 (76.000 cars).16 (Elsewhere the number of sold cars in 1980 is specified with 56.902; however, the Fiesta was in any case the most sold car.)17

On 2. January 1981 the 1.000.000th Fiesta was built, a silver Ghia with 1.1 l engine. The same year the Fórmula Fiesta was called into being. In May the prices for Fiestas were:18

Fiesta 459.871
Fiesta Bravo 493.634
Fiesta GL 544.686
Fiesta Ghia 612.057
Fiesta S 1300 616.869
Fiesta Super Sport 663.418

In September the Fiesta XR 2 was introduced with a 1.6 l engine. It won numerous races and was the protagonist in the Fiesta Cup, which was held for the first time in 1982.19

In October 1982 the plants in Almusafes had their sixth anniversary - with more than 1.4 Mio. Fiestas, more than 60.000 Escorts and 2.1 Mio. engines. At that time 332.000 Fiestas had been sold in Spain.20

In 1986 the Fiesta finally was the most sold car of all times.21

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