Ford has confirmed that it will end production of the hugely popular Fiesta hatch to focus on its push to become an all-electric brand in Europe by the end of the decade.
Production of the long-running hatch will next year, when Ford will also stop offering the venerable S-Max and Galaxy MPVs. The Blue Oval's Cologne production plant where the Fiesta is currently produced will be converted to electric passenger vehicle production – part of bold plans by the firm to introduce seven new electric vehicles in Europe by 2024.
With the existing Ford Mustang Mach-E and E-Transit, that will give the firm a line-up of nine EVs, split across passenger cars and commercial vans.
That line-up will include a new battery electric version of the Ford Puma crossover – but despite that model behind based on the same platform as the Fiesta, Ford currently has no plans to launch a BEV version of the hatch. That could mark the end of the Fiesta nameplate, which has been a key part of Ford's European line-up since it launched in 1976.
In a statement, Ford said: "We will introduce three new exciting electric passenger vehicles and four new electric commercial vehicles in Europe by 2024. We plan to sell more than 600,000 electric vehicles in the region by 2026, and the electric passenger vehicle production at the Cologne Electrification Centre will reach 1.2 million vehicles over a six-year timeframe.’
Ford's plans to launch nine EVs in Europe by 2024 were first revealed back in March, and are part of a major electrification push by the American firm. It recently split created separate business units – Ford Model e and Ford Pro – for its electric and combustion-engined cars respectively.
Ford has committed to an EV-only passenger vehicle line-up in Europe by 2030, with an all-EV commercial vehicle line-up in the region by 2035. The firm is also aiming for its operations – both production and vehicles – to be carbon neutral by 2035.
The seven EVs Ford will launch in Europe in the next three years include three passenger cars and four commercial vehicles. Ford is aiming for annual EV sales to reach 600,000 in Europe by 2026.
The first passenger car will be a “medium-sized crossover”, which will launch in 2023 and will be built at the firm’s Cologne plant. It will be the Blue Oval’s first machine produced on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform, used for the Volkswagen ID 4 and Skoda Enyaq IV, as part of a wide-ranging partnership between the two firms.
The second model will be a 'sport crossover', which will arrive in 2024 and will also be built in Cologne using the MEB platform. While Ford has not given details, it is likely it will be a coupe version of the 2023 crossover, similar to the Volkswagen ID 5.
Ford said that the 2023 medium-sized crossover will be a five-seater with a range of around 310 miles. It added that its name would be revealed later this year.
Ford of Europe boss Stuart Rowley said the new machine would be "a highly differentiated vehicle that only Ford could do" – but did note that the two new Cologne machines were part of the firm's partnership with the Volkswagen Group.
Asked how Ford models built on MEB would be 'highly differentiated', Rowley said: "These products will absolutely be Fords. They'll look like Fords, they'll drive like Fords and the experiences we'll provide through our new Model e business unit will provide customers with a unique Ford experience in purchase and ownership."
Finally, Ford has also confirmed an electric version of its best-selling passenger vehicle, the Puma small crossover, which will arrive in 2024 and will be built in the firm’s Romanian plant. Rowley declined to comment on whether the new EV will use an adapted version of the existing Puma platform or a dedicated electric platform.
The four commercial vehicles will all be part of the Ford Transit range: the new Transit Custom one-tonne van and a sister Transit Custom MPV will be followed by the smaller Tourneo Courier van and MPV in 2024.
Ford of Europe boss Stuart Rowley said the seven EVs "signal what is nothing less than the total transformation of our brand in Europe – a new generation of zero-emission vehicles, optimised for a connected world, offering our customers truly outstanding user experiences."
He added that Ford would "act with the speed of a start-up" in developing its EV plans.
Ford upgrades European EV production
The new crossover and sports crossover will be built at the Ford Cologne Electrification Centre. Ford is planning to increase production at the German site to 1.2 millions EVs over a six-year timeframe, and will invest around £1.53 billion in the site. That investment will include production of a new battery assembly facility, due to start operations in 2024.
Ford has also agreed a deal with SK On Co Ltd and Koc Holding to form a joint venture that will build and run a new electric car battery factory in Turkey. Due to open in the middle of the decade, Ford says it will have annual output of 30 to 45GWh of batteries.
Ford's Plant in Craiova, Romania will also be key to its EV plans. As well as the new Puma, the facility will be home to the new Transit Courier and Tourneo Courier, including their electric versions.