Technology Helps Fiesta And Ford Gain Fastest Share Growth Among Millennials

Ford’s Fiesta was first of a wave of new global products from Ford that has helped the company make headways in the small car market.

Ford goes as far as to say the Fiesta has helped it “turn the tables on imports in the United States, with increasing sales and a pace of millennial market share growth that soon could make Ford the top auto brand for young buyers.”

The Fiesta has helped Ford outsell Toyota and Scion’s three subcompact vehicles, 45,831 units to 32,510 units in 2013.

Based on Polk retail registration data, the Ford brand has had the fastest retail share growth of any U.S. brand among shoppers 18 to 34 years old, posting an 80 percent increase from the first half of 2009 to the first half of 2013, compared to a 35 percent increase for the industry overall.

“Fiesta started the momentum we are seeing across our car and crossover lineups, which is helping us attract younger buyers and grow in coastal markets where the imports long have dominated,” says Amy Marentic, marketing manager, large cars and crossovers. “We are adding the EcoBoost engine and MyFord Touch to the new Fiesta because we have younger buyers switching to us for unique features such as SYNC that cannot be found on other small cars.”

The data indicate Ford brand retail share increased with these buyers 3.1 points, from 9.4 percent to 12.5 percent during that time – more than any brand in America. This growth is led by Ford vehicles such as Fiesta, Focus, C-MAX, Escape, Fusion and Explorer – which combined account for nearly 70 percent of the increase.

The new Fiesta features MyFord Touch driver connect technology, and later this year will offer Ford’s acclaimed 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine. The Fiesta also offers a rear view camera, leather seats and sunroof – features Ford has fun mentioning are not available on Toyota Yaris or Scion iQ or xD.

The Fiesta SE with Super Fuel Economy package (SFE) is EPA-rated at 41 mpg highway.

Ford said these types of innovations are helping Fiesta draw a younger audience of 46 percent gen Y and gen X buyers compared to Toyota and Scion’s 36 percent subcompact average, according to internal Ford data. Ford SYNC, Fiesta’s voice-activated technology, is cited as an important purchase reason by 54 percent of buyers compared to Toyota’s 37 percent average.

According to Ford, the subcompact B-segment is a key market for cultivating loyalty, and is the fastest-growing non-premium segment in the United States. Nearly one-third of Fiesta customers are first-time buyers, and 67 percent choose another Ford when it comes time to trade in.

Ford finds the Fiesta is a top Ford vehicle for bringing in buyers on the coasts, with 45 percent of its customers on the east or west coast, compared to the company’s 38 percent average across the lineup.

These younger consumers trend toward smaller vehicles that fit with more urban lifestyles. They are also looking for a car that offers strong fuel economy while not sacrificing the fun-to-drive factor.

“Gone are the days when loading up a B-segment vehicle meant adding power windows, door locks and air conditioning,” says Marentic. “Today’s millennials and gen Xers demand the kinds of technology features that allow them to stay connected while behind the wheel, and to fully integrate the mobile devices they depend on every day.”

For 2014, the Fiesta offers new powertrain options, with increased performance from the 197-horsepower 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine in the new Fiesta ST, along with the award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine.

“Younger buyers are savvy consumers, what we call forensic buyers, with reams of data at their fingertips,” says Marentic. “They can find out nearly instantly if your car has as many bells and whistles as others, and if it is a good value.”