The misguidance of the Ford Fiesta

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Ford may have to correct a rare tactical oversight soon, and make an OE sat nav system available on the current shape Ford Fiesta.

I did the launch of the brilliant Fiesta back in 2008, and the lack of sat nav was something the brand manager gladly told me was intentional. Such was the low percentage of supermini buyers that choose it, she explained, it simply wasn’t economic to integrate such a system into the Fiesta.

Not when it was a global car developed to serve worldwide buyers.

Much better to go for a bespoke system that would give a user-appealing large-format digital central screen to all buyers. This is more generous than reserving a colour screen for a select few happy to add 10% to the car’s list price with the sat nav option.

That was then, though. And now? Superminis are continuing to boom in popularity. This is being driven, in part, by downsizing – moving from larger cars into smaller, more fuel efficient (and lower-tax) models.

And when people downsize, they often upgrade. Cheerio Focus Zetec, hello Fiesta Titanium. Ford admits as much, by boasting about what a high proportion of Fiesta sales are Titanium spec.

But they’re missing a massive profits-generating, sales-incentivising trick now: sat nav is becoming a must-have on larger cars. That expectation will be carried with these buyers to their downsize option. Can’t offer it? Then why should they bother?

Ford’s becoming isolated here: Peugeot offers sat nav, as does Volkswagen, as does Vauxhall – and Renault’s ingenious TomTom system on the Clio actually comes as standard on two out of the three trim lines. In such comparison charts, the Ford Fiesta looks glaringly underspecced.

You can almost stake money on the fact Ford engineers are busily working on a sat nav offer for the current Fiesta. It may even use the excellent system from the new Focus, which seems to share so much global thinking with the Fiesta (proving a world car can still have region-specific tech).

A rare example of Ford misguidance? We shall see.

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