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At least Sam knows most of us are very afraid of dumbing down ("de-contenting") the car. The door handles comment was insightful.

Also interesting to read about the Fiat 500/Ford Ka. This was something that was on my mind aswell. At least he isn't dismissing it immediately.

About the eco diesels. I read that 89% of the Jettas sold are diesels? If they would only produce one diesel that could fit in the Focus, Fiesta and Transit Connect, then Ford would spread it chances of succes and increase volume? Diesels are very torque'y and you know what they say: "You sell cars with bhp, but you win races with torque."

We'll see how it turns out at the end of the day :D .

ps. LOL @ Need More Oil For GM in the comments :rolleyes: .


~edit~
Oh crap!
http://www.autoweek.com/article/20090629/CARNEWS/906299987
 

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Great interview Mark, thanks for that.

Was surprised Sam pointing out the constant excuse of the small percentage the B segment is in the USA, but not giving any indication of future growth potential. Also I know Canada's market size is small, but in Canada B segment is almost 10%.
Sam's answers appeared defensive to your question
What can you tell us about the U.S.-bound cars’ final specification to quell fears of the historical “de-contenting” for our market?

Also surprised with "De La Garza: There are certainly some fears out there, and it was fascinating to see the responses from recent spy shots; it really made some of us laugh because we know that comments like, “Oh no, they are bringing back the cheap black door handles!”

His answer gives the perception that he belittles or does not understand the crap Ford N.A. has dished out over the years in regards to cheapening, decontenting, etc.

Sam should know this is a hot issue with Ford loyalists being the North America Focus brand manager.

Anyway thanks again for this Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great interview Mark, thanks for that.
You're welcome!


Was surprised Sam pointing out the constant excuse of the small percentage the B segment is in the USA, but not giving any indication of future growth potential. Also I know Canada's market size is small, but in Canada B segment is almost 10%.
Well I know it can look like he's making an excuse, but I think it is more of him attempting to explain the business behind the decision. It's an incredibly complex situation and although it can be hard for many of us (small car enthusiasts) to accept or understand, but at the end of the day we need to remember that times are incredibly tough right now and Ford is in a unique position to weather this storm without having to seek government assistance. Now is not the time for Ford to get overly "cutting edge" (Nor is it the time to be boring and play it safe, which they clearly are not) and risk having a failure that ultimately will force them to burn through their reserves before they return to profitability.

Just as we complain for a lack of things like the Econetic or the 3-door hatch here in the US, imagine how Europeans that love big trucks feel about us having about 1,000% more options than they have? It makes business sense, it's just a tough pill to swallow because we want the small car segment to get more "love."


Sam's answers appeared defensive to your question
What can you tell us about the U.S.-bound cars’ final specification to quell fears of the historical “de-contenting” for our market?
I wish you guys could have been on the call for this, as he was actually laughing at this point. It wasn't a mocking laugh, but an excited laugh. I could tell he wanted to say more, but I think they are keeping some very tight wraps on things.

The gist that I got from the discussion that was part of the interview, and the part that was us just chatting was that we shouldn't be half as worried as some people are about the de-contenting. His last sentence in that section is what really put my mind at ease, "At the end of the day, I hope and believe that people will sit back and say, “Wow, the U.S. did more than we thought, not less.” -Sam

Also surprised with "De La Garza: There are certainly some fears out there, and it was fascinating to see the responses from recent spy shots; it really made some of us laugh because we know that comments like, “Oh no, they are bringing back the cheap black door handles!”

His answer gives the perception that he belittles or does not understand the crap Ford N.A. has dished out over the years in regards to cheapening, decontenting, etc.

Sam should know this is a hot issue with Ford loyalists being the North America Focus brand manager.

Anyway thanks again for this Mark
I don't think it is that he doesn't understand, I again think it is that he was incredibly positive about this on the phone (something I can't convey in text) and the general idea was that he was blowing it off because at the end of the day our fears are going to be forgotten when we see the product they release. That's what I took from it anyway.

If anything it was my fault for failing to explain his tone...he wasn't mocking, he was just really, really excited about what he has in store for us. :D
 

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Thanks for your clarification on my points Mark. The contact I have had with Sam has been pleasant and informative. He seems quite genuine.

I do tend to over analyze the words that come out of people in Sam's position.

Re- the extra goodies for North America market, my guesses would be sedan, sunroof, SIRUS, multi-color interior lighting feature, & centre armrest for front paxs.

I would say SYNC as well but I believe Ford has said it will offer SYNC worldwide.
 

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Or a 2 liter engine? Or maybe a 6 speed manual? It's not offered here in Europe and would make the US car just a little better (MPG, noise levels).

Then again, he may be referring to the 3-bar grille :p
 

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The clear advantage for the US is the 6-speed PowerShift dual-clutch. That'll be an N/A exclusive and as long as it's an affordable option I'll be able to tolerate a lot of decontenting in other areas.
 

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Thanks for the interview with Sam, Mark.

I'm not totally pleased with what I heard from him BUT, after all the car is not close to release yet in the USA, so I can understand that part of the vagueness in his replies is due to Ford not wanting the competition to have insight to what the final specs of the car will be. This is totally reasonable.

I was gathering from his answers that the car will be mostly unchanged from the Euro car. Could it be that the "fugly grill" we've been seeing on the US test mules are nothing more than a clever effort to fool us. I'm hoping that at least the HB version will be identical to the euro spec car. I have a gut feeling that this is what Sam was trying to communicate to potential HB buyers.

I also will hedge my bets and say that the ecotec DIESEL that was planned to be built alongside the gas engine WILL be available in the US Fiesta, Ford really has a chance to get the jump on this and create a NEW niche in the US market, and are simply keeping mum on the future concerning diesel in the USA. VWoA now is going to be bested by Ford in the diesel marketplace. Poor VWoA, destined to hang themselves is my guess.

Mark I am curious....did you ask Sam about the "seating issue" I've been discussing at length? If so please let us know what his reply was, or perhaps if the answer can't be made "public" please PM me, I'm dying to know his reactions to my comments. I can promise you that I will not repeat his comments if they are not for the general public, my word is good!
 

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I was gathering from his answers that the car will be mostly unchanged from the Euro car.
They should be!
Why else would they go through the trouble of getting 100 cars for bloggers and a few dozen more for these Ride & Drive testdrives throughout the country if they can't deliver? That wouldn't make any sense.

BTW, I told a friend who drives a Honda Civic in Oregon about the Fiesta. He went to such a Ride & Drive and is now an Elder of the Church of Fiesta, spreading the word :D
(he especially admired the paint job)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I actually didn't get a chance to talk to him about the seats, we got off-topic and I totally lost track.

Funny you bring that up though- I was meaning to share something. I have been going to Ford dealers to bring the Fiesta for the special unveiling of the new Taurus SHO just to add something to the events and I've had two different guys get out of the car after messing with the seats, and I made a point to ask them what they were doing and they both said that they didn't like how the seats pinched their shoulders and upper back. They were a little bigger than me, but not "big" guys.

I honestly feel the seat is too narrow as-is. I would still love to see a sporty seat, but I think this is just too narrow.
 

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It seems I haven't posted on here lately due to a lot of recent traveling. Mark, excellent job on the interview. Very well done and great questions. Sam seems to be a great guy and well aware of the hardcore contingent that has almost unreasonable expectations. The nice thing is that it appears many of those expectations may become reality while the greater general public should find the Fiesta to be right at the top of the B-segment.

As Ive said there are plenty of things I'd like to see that financially either don't make sense or would be risky in the current market. Regardless, each bit of news makes me look forward to the launch even more.
 

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Mark,

In any case I doubt that he would be able to comment in detail about the final specifications as of now.

I did want to mention to you that I just came back from driving a 1800 miles round trip in my Dad's 2005 Ford 500 (Taurus) with the highline leather and power seating. Granted this model is not aimed at the same target group as the Fiesta, however after driving all those miles in that car (it was a reasonably comfortable ride too) I simply could not stand the lack of side support of the drivers seat (compared to my 96 VW Golf GL) although the bottom was comfortable I simply felt that I was not adequately restrained in that seat, and it wasn't so much the sliding around as it was the lack of ANY real side support on the seat cushion bottom . Honestly I felt unsafe when the car was rounding curves at even reasonable speeds on the interstate!!!!! My VW Golf seats aren't the best now, worn a bit and such, BUT they make you feel secure during the manuvers I was mentioning previously. One other aside the steering has a HUGE sneeze factor with a dead spot in the center and the car seemed to wander and not track straight even though it had been correctly aligned (possibly the huge 18" wheels and tires?) However the car did have a good build quality and my father has only had one real issue in 40 k miles (reflash on the ecu to correct hard starting in cold, an easy fix under warranty) For what the 500 (Taurus) is, it does a really good job.

Well enough rambling on for now.
 

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Thanks for reading Mark's interview - everyone. He threw some curveballs at me - but he never let me off easy. I can't wait until we can share more details about the car with enthusiasts like yourselves. For now - we are listening intently to our Fiesta Movement agents about their experiences with the car and what they love and hate about the car. Fortunately, there's hasn't been much to hate, because this little car really captivates people.

Feel free to connect with me via Twitter (@samdelag)!

Sam
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for stopping by Sam, only further showing how closely Ford really does listen :D

PS, the Fiesta did EXTREMELY well at autocross over the weekend...numbers, videos, and more to follow ;)
 

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Mark,
I am excited you got a chance to autocross your Fiesta! My brother and I had a great time taking mine autocrossing and then to an open track night at GingerMan Raceway. Its going to be too bad our US Fiesta's will have all season tires, which will numb the awesome suspension. I am not too worried, as I have a set of 17" wheels with summer tires just waiting for my Fiesta to be built. My biggest fear is that the US car will be too watered down, and compromised to the point of losing its apeal. After showing the car this weekend, many others fear the same thing.
 

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Sorry to say that with that silly chromed grill they are forcing on US cars, I think others bad things are also coming along with it.

COuld it be that Dearborn is once again protecting its "turf" by intentionally mucking up another great FoE product? We will see. BTW this "turf protection" happens ALL the time in the automotive business especially in Detroit and Dearborn.
 

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PS, I've now had a total of 5 people sit in the Fiesta complain about the seats and say they are too narrow. None of them were even overweight. In fact, one was my best friend who I tease (with love lol) for being skinny.

I understand you REALLY, REALLY want race style seats, I get that, and I too don't like FLAT seats, but there is such a thing as a happy medium and I think the Fiesta would be BETTER off with a broader seat.
 

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COuld it be that Dearborn is once again protecting its "turf" by intentionally mucking up another great FoE product? We will see. BTW this "turf protection" happens ALL the time in the automotive business especially in Detroit and Dearborn.
I highly doubt that there's a conspiracy to "ruin" FoE products to protect jobs in Dearborn. It's not in the long-term interest of anyone at Ford to intentionally put out bad cars. In any case, it's not working.

I think the culprit here is Market Research. The Detroit automakers tend to take market research too seriously and too literally. As a result they don't trust their own design instincts or those of their European counterparts. But it's really all in the name of pleasing the customers.
 
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