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US Car Manufacturers Finally Get The Message With Ford Launching New Ford Fiesta for Global Small Car Era

Ford Motor Company today began production of the all-new Ford Fiesta, the first in a portfolio of global small cars, at the Cologne Stamping and Assembly plant in Germany.

The next-generation Ford Fiesta was developed by the European arm of Ford's global product development team to meet the demands and expectations of customers around the world.

The new small car represents the blueprint for future global product development efforts at Ford and will be tailored to meet customer preferences for interior features, exterior colors, body styles and other options in each region of the world. It will go on sale progressively between now and 2010, starting in Europe.

"Today we are celebrating the start of a new era for our fabulous Ford Motor Company," Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company, told employees in a taped video message at today's ceremony in Cologne. "The all-new Fiesta is an outstanding symbol for our One Ford vision of a single, global company designing and building cars for customers around the world. Be proud of what you have achieved and be proud of your contribution to a model that will get the world talking."

The Cologne plant is the first Ford assembly facility in the world to build the new global car. Production will start at Valencia Assembly Plant in Spain in January 2009.

In North America, the new subcompact will be offered in two models: the sporty European hatchback and the popular two-door sedan. The models will be produced at the company's Cuautitlan Assembly Plant in Mexico in 2010. Retooling the plant from its current production of F-Series trucks to small car production will begin in December.

Fiesta production for the Asian market begins later this year in Nanjing, China and Rayong, Thailand.

Within five years, Ford expects to build about 1 million vehicles worldwide off the new global B-car platform along with nearly 2 million vehicles off the global C-car unit.

Ford invested 455 million euros (U.S. $718.4 million) to retool Cologne Assembly for Fiesta production. The plant's 4,000 employees went through a total of 50,000 hours of extensive training on and off the assembly line. To ensure the vehicle meets stringent internal quality targets, a team of employees built the car on the assembly line, stripped it down and built it again.

In 2008, Ford will manufacture 148,000 new Fiestas in Cologne. When operating at full capacity, a total of more than 1,900 Ford Fiestas and Fusions will be produced daily on three shifts at the Cologne plant.

"The Fiesta is special to us in Ford of Europe and to our customers," said John Fleming, President and CEO, Ford of Europe. "Over the past 32 years it has consistently been at the top of the list of Europe's best-selling cars.

"While appealing to existing customers, the new vehicle will attract a new generation of Fiesta owners with its dynamic, bold design and high manufacturing quality," Fleming said. "I am confident that the all-new Fiesta will build on the success of its predecessor."

Since the first Fiesta was launched in 1976, more 12 million have been sold, with over 400,000 customers in 2007 proving the enduring popularity of the model.

The new Fiesta's dramatic exterior design and exciting interior styling are accentuated by bold colors and high quality materials throughout. The new vehicle extends the core Fiesta values of style, efficiency and driving quality.

A total of 410,900 Fiestas and Fusions were manufactured in Cologne in 2007. Approximately 85 percent of the vehicles produced in Cologne last year were exported to more than 50 countries.

Earlier this year, the Cologne plant began using renewable electricity generated by three hydro-power plants in Norway and Sweden, reducing the plant's CO2 emissions by 190,000 tons a year. This initiative is part of the company's overall commitment to further reduce the environmental footprint of its vehicles through their life cycle.

"We're proud of the Cologne Assembly Plant and the vehicles produced here. Not only does the new Fiesta bring innovative design and engineering to the small car market, but it brings new manufacturing technologies as well," said Jim Tetreault, vice president, Manufacturing, Ford of Europe.

"This new Fiesta is tough, strong, and safe due to the body construction technologies which allow us to build a lightweight, yet extremely strong body through the innovated use of high strength steel. It is also built with care, craftsmanship and precision by an efficient and dedicated workforce, which is second to none," he said.

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