My new car
With the global economy in shambles, fuel prices likely to increase with demand, and automakers searching for the holy grail that will pull their fat from the fire, bailout-free Ford is trying something the Big Three should have done a long time ago, looking overseas for some inspiration.
Next year, Ford is bringing the extremely popular fuel-sipping (German-built) Fiesta stateside. But before that happens they decided to run an online contest to giveaway 100 Fiestas to drive for 6 Months as a social media buzz generator. I entered the contest and was selected as a "Fiesta Agent" from over 4,000 video entries via YouTube.
My winning video and story after the jump...
One of Motor Trend's Gotta Have Cars for 2010, the Fiesta is a bold break from the typical US mindset that fun cars have big engines and suck gas, while gas sippers are cheap and crappy.
Upon hearing about the Ford Fiesta Movement, I was not immediately interested. In the past 20 years I've only bought one American-made car, and that was such a piece of junk (it actually caught fire in a parking lot when it wasn't running) that my next car purchase was foreign. Of the seven or so cars I've owned, 1 was Japanese and 5 have been German.
Judging by how many German cars I see on the road, I believe our story is very similar to many people out there. My wife and I like performance and great design. We also try to keep the smallest carbon footprint that we can. We grow a lot of our own food, buy local and sustainable, our home is energy efficient, we compost and recycle, conserve water and gasoline, and we try very hard to buy American whenever possible. She recently had a gift card to a popular clothing store, and it took three trips to find something American made. Unfortunately, this desire never really translated to cars.
Over the years, while America's obsession with larger and larger SUV's and cars grew, many of us trended towards smaller performance cars, with great build quality, good fuel efficiency, and decent resale value. America did not build those cars and whenever we thought of a new car, buying from the "Big 3" never even crossed our minds.
The reason for this is because the US automakers have completely ignored people like us. As they fought stronger CAFE standards here, companies like Ford and GM have complied with stricter fuel efficiency standards overseas, while building fun, smaller, performance cars. They'll tell you that the reason they didn't build European style cars here is because we didn't want them, which is nonsense considering they constantly compete with a wider variety of choices over there. One look at Ford's "One Ford" product strategy will show you that they are finally starting to get it, as the new Fiesta is the first Ford built with this philosophy.
Cool Ford, huh? Sorry only in Europe
This is where my interest in the Fiesta came in. After doing a little research, reading reviews, and watching some fun segments on Top Gear, I realized that we're faced with an opportunity to show companies like Ford that if they build fuel efficient performance cars, we'll buy them. And while they aren't currently made here in the US, if enough people start to look at Ford's European ideas and purchasing these types of cars, they might just find it worth re-tooling the US factories and build them in Detroit. This is something I'd love to see since I do think we need an auto industry and we need one that leads the world, and doesn't just acquiesce when the tide had turned against them.
Top Gear: Fiesta vs Corvette in a shopping mall...it could happen!
In this economy, we want to keep our money invested in American companies and American products, and this is why I decided to participate in the Ford Fiesta Movement. Our lease will be up in less than a year and we're already thinking about what we want out of our next car. So our challenge to Ford, and the question we have is, come next year, will we buy a Ford?
We'll see. Regardless, I'm really excited to take part in this experiment and I really want to see it succeed. Making great cars is something Americans have in our blood. Our history, culture, and our fondest memories are deeply linked to the cars of our lives, and I want to see a rebirth of a new auto industry that hopefully is part of a green solution, and not just part of the problem.
I will be doing some "real world" TreeHugger-style tests on the car that I'll feature exclusively here. I'm thinking hybrid versus hypermiling Fiesta! Who will get further on a tank of gas?
More info on the The Fiesta Movement Website
Also, if you want to discuss this or personally chat with me before or during the trial, you can do so here in the forums.