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Brand New Ford Fiesta

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TMR Team | Jul 26, 2017

Declining sales locally in the light car market and shifting logistics for the next Ford Fiesta may see Australia struck off the list of destinations for the all-new model.

The brand has unveiled a replacement for the smallest car it sells in Australia, bringing new looks and updated tech to the compact hatch.

But the car is in doubt for Asian markets, including Australia, which has not confirmed plans to import the car.

Robert Stiller, head of Ford's light car program, told Romanian reporters this month that the Fiesta's footprint will shrink in coming years.

"The previous model was a global Ford product, and with the new generation, we are targeting only Europe, the Middle East, and Africa," Stiller said.

"In North America, especially the US, China, and Latin America, the demand for such [subcompact] vehicles is declining, and we are reacting accordingly."

2017 Ford Fiesta ST
2017 Ford Fiesta ST

Asked whether the next-gen Fiesta will come to Australia, a local spokesman for the brand said "the current model will remain on sale for the foreseeable future".

Ford Australia president Graeme Whickman has refused to publicly confirm plans for the new model, telling motoring industry journal GoAuto that Ford will discuss the model "when we're ready".

Light cars such as the Fiesta have dropped in popularity, with sales diving by more than 13 percent for the year to date, following a decline of 15 percent in 2016.

Buyers in the once-popular segment seem to be switching to light SUVs such as the Ford EcoSport or Mazda CX-3, along with small cars such as the Ford Focus and Hyundai i30 often available for less than $20,000 in automatic form.

The problem is that Australia's current-gen Fiesta is built in Thailand, a closer - and cheaper - source than Ford's German plant.

It's possible that the new Fiesta may arrive only in hot hatch ST form, something Volkswagen and Renault tried with the Scirocco and third-generation Clio.

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