Review: Ford Fiesta

It only took a global recession and gas costing over $4.00 a gallon, but finally, automakers are embracing the subcompact. Not that this is a new segment-we’ve seen cars this size for decades. What is different this time around is that these are actual, real cars. Not just an afterthought. Buying an inexpensive subcompact used to mean purchasing the automotive equivalent of a penalty box-a crude implement that offered nothing in the way of style, comfort, or, (gasp!) fun at the wheel.

Ford has been here before-remember the Aspire from the 1990’s? Of course not. This time around, North American buyers are now getting a taste of the Fords we have longed for from Europe. The Fiesta is a true global car, and this is good news. Ford has been building exceptional small cars for years, they just haven’t been selling them here. All that changes with the Fiesta. How does the tiniest Ford fare in this growing market? Read on!

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Ken Block gets serious in Turkey

When it was announced that Ken Block was switching from Subaru to Ford and would be competing in select WRC rounds in 2010, there were many critics who said he would fail. Of course most were far more verbose, but you get the idea. Ford has made a very substantial investment in Mr. Block and it would appear that he has taken the challenge very seriously and is learning rather quickly.

The Monster World Rally Team released this in car footage yesterday, shot in the Turkey round of the WRC. Special Stage 23 is notable for its high speeds and several very large crests. Large crests means large air. It also means more opportunity for large crashes.
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Officially official: Ken Block teams up with Ford

Back in October, we reported the rumour that Ken Block was planning a new jump. This one would be even more exciting than Travis Pastrana’s New Year’s jump. Block would launch his WRX off Subaru’s ship & transform the black & white bomb into a Ford Fiesta and land on Ford’s ship!

An exciting concept, but we’re talking about Ken Block, not Chriss Angel. The real truth is still pretty cool though.

Ford’s quest for world domination is just as strong as Block’s, so the partnership makes sense. As of today, the rumour is now fact. Ken Block & sponsor Monster Energy are dropping Subaru like a hot potato and heading to the Ford camp. This move will see Block enter events around the world, including the WRC in time.

The marketing folks are spinning their magic to make all of these pieces fall into place. Now its up to Block to pull the rabbit out of the hat!

Press release after the break
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Ken Block and Monster Energy set to switch from Subaru to Ford

block subaru tall pines 08

We all have fun watching Ken Block wreak havoc at airports, docklands and logging roads and I’m sure he has about 10 times as much fun doing it but let’s not forget there is something larger at stake here. Namely, cubic money. As any racer will tell you, playing in a car (or cars) of that magnitude costs big money and big money has to be replenished or you don’t get to play any more.

To that end, Block needs to sell shoes, hats and tee shirts. He also needs to sell more than a few cans of Monster Energy drink. Oh yes, selling the odd car here and there would help too. The conundrum here is that while Subaru enjoys the spotlight block’s antics place on their brand, they seem content to remain a niche brand and the WRX models are a niche within that niche. Given that the best way for KB to sell more DC and Monster products is to go to the world stage, Block has had his eyes set on the WRC series for some time now. Not only does it offer him more challenge as a driver, but it offers exposure to the world outside of North America. Trouble is that Subaru have backed out of the WRC. Time to find a new manufacturer, one who is hungry to sell a car that is destined to be sold world wide.

Enter Ford.

If you recall, Ford has made motorsports an integral part of their resurrection plan. Mustang models for grass roots road and drag racing and Euro Focus models in X-Games and Pikes peak bring the Ford name to a new, youthful audience. They have also been winning just about everything they have entered. Perhaps the time has come for Ford to return to the top of the WRC heap with a rally star who is a household name in North America instead of small town Europe.

And so it seems that Ken Block and former Subaru driver Chris Atkinson are close to a deal which would see the Monster Energy Drink World Rally Team compete in roughly half of next year’s World Rally Cup in a 2009 spec Ford Focus. Speculation is that the 2011 season will see the team campaign the new Ford Fiesta on the full calendar.

Looks like we might start seeing WRC on TV here in North America again soon!

Source autosport via Autoblog