Ford Motor Company’s Antonella Wants a Nicer Fiesta Now, but There’s No Antonellas in America

Remember Antonella?

Antonella was a 28-year-old Italian, living in the heart of Rome in the latter part of the last decade, who needed a nimble and stylish Ford.

Antonella has changed. Antonella has more money. She no longer lives with her parents. She has, say it politely, aged, though she’s “still very expressive,” Ford of Europe’s design boss George Saridakis tells Automotive News Europe. Since Antonella changed, the Ford Fiesta for which she was created (or vice versa) has also changed. Ford of Europe now hopes 10 percent of Europe’s Antonellas will choose the upmarket Fiesta Vignale.

What about Antonella’s cousin, Amy in Cleveland? Ford probably hopes she’ll buy a 2018 EcoSport. But if we’re going to be honest about Amy (a TTAC creation), we all know Ford’s inadvertently pulling her into the leftover 2017 Escape she’s been eyeing, the one with a $2,500 discount and interest-free financing over 84 months.

Remember Antonella? Ford created the youthful female to be an imaginary target buyer for the 2011 Fiesta. There were others like her.

Natasha was created on behalf of 2009’s Lincoln C Concept. Natasha must have died, because Lincoln never actually followed through on actually building that car.

Jack was the life of the party when he bought a 2010 Taurus, The New York Times reported in 2009.

For the Ford F-150, there were two individuals, not surprising given the high-volume nature of the vehicle. They were “heroes of the neighborhood,” schlepping refurbished furniture up and down the street and hauling mulch for the subdivision’s truck-less gardener.

Ashley was supposed to be a cool mom who bought a Ford Transit Connect. “She dresses up like her children at Halloween,” The Times said. As we know, Ashley and her friends decided Grand Caravans, Siennas, and Odysseys were more prudent purchases.

But Antonella was the star, and with more money to spend and more friends to influence, she’s back for more. The Ford Fiesta is a segment leader in Europe, so Ford wants to build on the car’s success to capture a larger chunk of the upscale subcompact market. The company says subcompacts costing more than €20,000 ($23,800) formed more than 15 percent of the European subcompact market.

The upscale Titanium model that previously accounted for more than four-in-10 Fiesta sales will lose market share as the Vignale steps in to take its place. Ford still sees a quarter of Europe’s Fiesta buyers opting for the three-door model, a variant that was never offered in the U.S. during the prior generation’s tenure.

Americanized Antonellas, however, appear to be near nonexistent. Ford appears to have no plans to import the seventh-generation Fiesta to its home market. In a market that’s turning its back on subcompact cars while increasingly favoring subcompact crossovers, Antonella remains a fake image in the minds of Ford’s European product planners. On one side of the Atlantic, Antonella lives.

On the other? RIP Antonella.

[Image: Ford Europe]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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