The new Ford Fiesta – the stylish subcompact that is ushering in a new wave of global cars from Ford – is off to a fast start in Europe.

The strong early sales of the Fiesta helped Ford's European operations increase market share in November and bodes well for the company as it prepares to launch the global small car in China in the first quarter of next year and in other key Asian markets and the United States in early 2010.

In its first two months on sale, Ford has sold more than 42,200 new Fiestas in Europe's main 19 markets despite soft overall industry sales, making the new Fiesta the second-most popular vehicle in the Ford of Europe lineup behind the Focus compact. The Fiesta, including the new version and outgoing model, was the best-selling car in the United Kingdom in November among all models from all automakers.

"After only two months since its introduction, the Fiesta is already our second best-selling model behind the Focus," said Ingvar Sviggum, vice president, marketing, sales and service, Ford of Europe. "In the U.K., the Fiesta's market share for November was the highest since January 1998 for the nameplate, and the new Fiesta attracted 1,000 more retail British buyers than the previous model in November 2007. This is a promising start for our all-new global model."

Overall, November Ford of Europe sold 95,700 vehicles across its 19 European markets. This was down 21.4 percent versus November 2007, but the company again outperformed the industry by increasing its market share to 8.8 percent, up 0.5 percentage points. The Ford brand is now firmly established as the No. 2 brand in Europe's main 19 markets behind only Volkswagen.

Ford Fiesta 2008, 1 of 12
Ford Fiesta 2008, 2 of 12
Ford Fiesta 2008, 3 of 12
Ford Fiesta 2008, 4 of 12
Ford Fiesta 2008, 5 of 12
Ford Fiesta 2008, 6 of 12
Ford Fiesta 2008, 7 of 12
Ford Fiesta 2008, 8 of 12
Ford Fiesta 2008, 9 of 12
Ford Fiesta 2008, 10 of 12
Ford Fiesta 2008, 11 of 12
Ford Fiesta 2008, 12 of 12

The new Fiesta is attracting a broader range of customers to the Ford brand and customers are choosing upscale features and trim packages, Sviggum said. About 50 percent of new buyers are choosing the upscale Titanium and Ghia versions of the new Fiesta. And half of new Fiestas on the road are equipped with Bluetooth capability, while more than 60 percent were ordered with leather-wrapped steering wheels and 30 percent with privacy glass.

Designed and developed in Europe for sale across Ford's global markets, the new Fiesta is the first in a series of fuel efficient new small cars developed through Ford's global product development process. Its stylish and dynamic flair combines with all the traditional Ford small car strengths to create a confident, contemporary introduction to the next chapter of the Fiesta success story.

The new Fiesta opens another chapter in the story of the popular Ford small car that has sold more than 12 million units since its introduction in 1976. Charismatic and individual, the new model makes major strides in craftsmanship, quality of materials and product choice while continuing to represent Fiesta's traditional strengths of practicality, value for money, agility and safety.

The Fiesta is produced at Ford's plant in Cologne, Germany, for European markets. Fiestas built in Cologne are on sale now in South Africa and will soon go on sale in Australia and New Zealand. Early next year, Fiesta production begins at Ford's assembly plant in Valencia, Spain, for European markets and at Ford's state-of-the-art assembly plant in Nanjing, China, for the Chinese market.

Ford's Auto Alliance Thailand (AAT) facility in Rayong will begin producing the new Fiesta for other major Asian markets in 2010. At the same time, Ford is currently retooling its truck plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico, to build the new Fiesta for the United States and other North American markets.