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Auto blogFri, 17 May 2013 17:46:00 EST
We at Autoblog love the new little Ford Fiesta ST, and apparently, folks in Europe are pretty impressed with it, as well. According to Ford, the automaker's European arm has already logged 3,000 orders for the new hot hatch since it hit dealerships this March. The US-spec car, which will only be available as a five-door, will go on sale in the United States this summer.
What's perhaps most interesting about the Fiesta ST ordering is that the majority of customers appear to be ordering high-spec cars. According to Ford data, 60 percent of customers have opted for the leather interior with Recaro buckets, and 90 percent have selected the upgraded 17-inch wheels (seen on our test car, above). Spirit Blue has been the most popular color, commanding 27 percent of all orders. As for the technology upgrades, 19 percent of customers have ponied up for the Sony stereo with navigation.
To recap, the Fiesta ST is offered with Ford's 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, putting out 179 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission. We had an absolute blast flinging the hot Fiesta through the French Alps, and we can't wait for this sharp little hatch to make its way over to the States.
'Tis the season... for road salt. And with that, comes rust. And what does rust bring? Well, for Ford and General Motors, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation. According to The Detroit News, NHTSA is looking into potential recalls issues with Chevrolet Express vans and Ford Freestar minivans.
The feds have received five complaints that rust has caused leaking fuel filler pipes on 2003 Express vans. Separately, seven complaints have been filed over excessive rust in the rear wheel wells of 2004 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans. The Freestar and Monterey went out of production in 2007. Neither issue has resulted in any crashes or injuries, according to the report.
It comes as no surprise when Ford says that 32-percent of Focus ST buyers are under 35, but we weren't expecting this: the average annual salary of Focus ST buyers is $127,000. Twenty-two percent of non-ST Focus buyers are under 35, while their average annual salary is $67,000.
We like the Focus ST because it has 252 horsepower, is genuinely fun to drive and offers great value for performance-minded car enthusiasts; facts that are not lost on customers, it seems. Ford says that the Focus ST has the highest percentage of conquest sales for a non-hybrid model it sells, and that the top-four trade-ins are from Honda, Chevrolet, Mazda and Toyota. Demand for the hot Focus is strongest in Los Angeles, Detroit, Houston and Orlando.
"[The Focus ST is] having this kind of halo effect for other vehicles we'd hoped for when we invested in the ST brand," says John Felice, vice president of US marketing, sales and service, because it's helping to boost sales of other Ford vehicles.