October 6th, 2009 by Steve Cypher

Ford Motor Company announces that it will debut the 2011 Ford Fiesta at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The way-back machine

Marking another milestone in the company’s history, Ford announced today that the North American version of the 2011 Ford Fiesta will be revealed at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show in December.

Truth be told, this latest announcement harkens back to a similar vehicle launch 10 years ago with the original Ford Focus. By bringing the Focus to North America virtually unchanged from its European counterpart, Ford was gambling on the premise that the average American small car driver would immediately notice the quantum leap in style, quality and driving dynamics between the new car and the vehicle it replaced, the Escort.

The gamble paid off. The Focus received rave reviews from the automotive press for its affordability, nimble handling and excellent fuel economy. Car and Driver magazine named it to their “10 Best” list five years in a row.

That list of “10 Best” appearances ended, not coincidentally, when the Focus was re-styled in 2005 and Europe received an all-new model based on the C1 platform while North America was stuck with the aging C170 architecture. A less-than-stellar re-design for 2007 resulted in a vehicle with agonizingly plain sheet metal whose singular saving grace seems to be the Microsoft-developed Sync system residing on the dashboard.

They’re baaaack

Flash forward and, once again, here we are contemplating driving the good stuff from Ford without having to fly Lufthansa in order to get our hands on one.

With plans firmly in place to have the vehicle in dealer hands by next summer, Ford has chosen the all-important (nee all-import) state of California for the first official look-see of the North American version of the 2011 Ford Fiesta.

“This is the perfect time to show the North American Fiesta,” said Sam De La Garza, Ford Fiesta marketing manager. “The Fiesta Movement will have wrapped up, and after hearing so much about this car leading up to the reveal, everyone will finally get to see what we are so excited about.”

The Fiesta movement?

Yes, indeed, the Fiesta Movement. Earlier this year, Ford brought over 100 European Fiestas and assigned each one to a “technologically adept, socially outgoing” Fiesta agent. These “100 young trendsetters” lived with their Fiestas for 6 months, with each month requiring a “mission”. During October, the final month, these missions will include:

• Visiting Turn10 Studio, Microsoft’s racing studio, to get a look behind closed doors at the making of the latest Forza race game featuring the 2011 Ford Fiesta. The agent will get to design his or her own Fiesta, then climb into a three-screen simulator complete with hydraulics to put the new game to the test.
• A behind-the-scenes glimpse into the production of a music video with Izza Kizza. The hip-hop artist is creating his music video for the song “They’re Everywhere,” and one lucky Fiesta agent will get to be right there, front and center, for the fun.
• Hanging out in the recording studio with Jukebox the Ghost. The indie pop group is recording its new album; a Fiesta agent will be checking out the band’s new tunes right along with them.
• Several missions for football fanatics, from checking out a Detroit Lions game with a former player, to watching a Philadelphia Eagles warm-up, to hanging out for the team’s game and meeting the broadcast group for the Eagles.

Certainly not a bad job and, aside from the Lions game, maybe even fun.

Note to Ford: This time, keep bringing the good stuff over here.

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