- New levels of fuel economy and efficiency, one of the top contributors of cost-of-ownership
- Intelligent approach to manufacturing to minimise repair costs and lower insurance ratings
- New electrical architecture for reduced complexity and simpler maintenance
- Tested to exacting standards for durability and reliability
October 2008 – In the new Fiesta, Ford has delivered a contemporary small car, designed and engineered to appeal to a discerning and demanding generation of customers. However, doing so could not be at the expense of affordability and durability in the ownership experience. So while the Fiesta incorporates the latest in design, engineering and manufacturing techniques, extensive thought and effort has ensured it still stands for value for money and reliability.
Keeping a Lid on Cost
Helping owners minimise running costs was a key development objective for the new Fiesta. Beyond the cost of the vehicle itself, fuel costs and insurance premiums are the biggest cost factors for a small-car owner. The new Fiesta has been engineered to help its owner keep these budget items under control.
The Fiesta’s body shape has fought size and weight gains common in the small car segment. It features extensive use of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steels to achieve a robust protective body structure that is actually lighter than the previous generation Fiesta.
This weight loss, combined with efficient new calibrations in the new Fiesta engine range, has delivered tangible fuel economy improvements for Fiesta customers.
Premium is Affordable
Insurance is another significant element of ownership costs. The Fiesta has been engineered with an objective of keeping premiums low for customers.
Several aspects of the new Fiesta’s fundamental structure are designed with low repair and ownership costs in mind. Central to Ford’s philosophy is to ensure that the cost of low-speed crashes is minimised. The Fiesta features the use of bake-hardened steel on its front wing shapes, which offers better resistance to the dings and dents of daily driving, such as when parking in tight spaces.
The Fiesta’s headlamps and tail lamps are optimised for crash resistance, positioned high, away from potential impact. The headlamp unit features its own front crush zone designed to prevent more costly structural damage to the front-end structure.
The front bumper features a robust and strong horizontal beam of dual-phase steel to resist and control crash energy. It is backed by specially shaped ‘crash cans’ designed to collapse predictably in an impact. These crash cans are termed ‘sacrificial parts’, whose mission is to prevent more extensive damage and higher repair costs. Similar crash cans are found on the Fiesta’s rear bumper beam.
At both front and rear, these elements are hidden beneath shaped bumper covers painted in body colour. The front bumper instillation incorporated fog lamps when specified and a specially designed insert for the large, trapezoidal lower grille, plus pedestrian protection and aerodynamic features.
At the rear, the bumper assembly incorporates a snap-out integral tow-eye cover in its design.
Modern Electrical Nerve System
In electrical terms, the Fiesta is a highly ‘multiplexed’ vehicle, meaning its electrical systems carry multiple signals for different functions. Multiplexing greatly reduces the complexity and weight of the vehicle’s wiring, without reducing its many features.
The Fiesta’s electrical structure incorporates three CAN-Bus networks:
High-speed underbody CAN-Bus for the communication and control of key systems, such as the powertrain control module, ABS and EBD systems, Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS), transmission control module and the restraints control module of Fiesta’s Intelligent Protection System
Medium-speed for CAN-Bus for key upper body systems, such as its body control module and temperature control system
Dedicated multimedia bus for audio features and Fiesta’s multi-functional Human Machine Interface
Linked to these three key CAN-Bus networks are several LIN (Local Information Network) connections which allow the optimisation of feature functionality. For example, the switches to control the radio are LIN-communicated to the audio head unit.
The electrical system features an integrated connection for vehicle diagnostics, which assists service technicians in the field.
Another major feature of the Fiesta’s electrical system is its introduction of a Central Cat Configuration (CCC) feature. This system stores all market-related vehicle specifications and broadcasts them to the rest of the vehicle. This instrument cluster acts as the CCC master module, which helps in assembly to ensure the vehicle is built to the correct specification and in service to maintain the vehicle.
The instrument cluster also controls another clever electrical feature known as ‘load management’. Load management ensures that power is used smartly by analysing the electrical load required and deciding how it can be accommodated, based on the state of the battery and general charging information.
Built Small – Built Tough
For most customers, a car’s ownership experience is defined by its reliability. So when it came to testing the Fiesta’s durability, no compromises were made. Although Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) helped reduce the development time and the number of prototype vehicles required, the work of Ford durability engineers is ever more extensive.
The new Fiesta has been engineered and tested for a life of at least 240,000 kilometres or 10 years. To reach such standards, the Fiesta’s durability has been assessed at each stage in its development, including CAE, component, system and vehicle levels, with a total of 3.5 million kilometres of on-road testing. Specific durability testing actions included:
More than 550 component and system level lab tests to verify durability, functionality, serviceability and degradation over a vehicle’s lifetime.
Doors, tailgate and bonnet life tests, with more than 300,000 operations in real world environmental conditions, including dirt, dust, salt, humidity and temperatures ranging from – 40 degrees Celsius to +80 degrees Celsius
41 prototype test vehicles on public roads, in a variety of driving cycles, accumulating up to 45,000 kilometres per vehicle every eight weeks
As with many larger cars, the Fiesta’s durability testing has extended beyond the hands of its own engineers. As soon as they were available, production-quality test vehicles were placed with real high-mileage customers, such as nurses, delivery drivers and the Red Cross, allowing reliability to be closely monitored, even at distances beyond the standard warranty period. In total, 20 production-level vehicles were placed with test customers, each accumulating up to 100,000 kilometres per year.
The result is a new Fiesta which can boast reliability credentials as robust as much larger vehicles. Combined with the intelligent application of new technologies and a razor-sharp focus on reducing weight, it creates a new Fiesta as affordable as it is attractive.
Big-Car Manufacturing Techniques
The Fiesta is manufactured with sophisticated techniques more commonly found in big-car production. High-intensity lights and cameras are used by robotic assembly technology to position glass and doors on vehicles with meticulous accuracy.
Robotic systems ensure that the new Fiesta glass closures are installed accurately, which helps ensure high levels of quality and reduces the potential for squeaks, rattles and wind noise issues for the customer.
The Fiesta introduces bar-coded windows to facilitate this high-tech process. A robotic camera selects the right piece of glass through the use of these barcodes. It then applies adhesive to the glass and brings it into position on the car body on the assembly line.
To aid in the final placement of the glass, high intensity lamps light the body surface and an array of cameras guides the glass perfectly into position. All of the glass is fully encapsulated.
Similarly, robotic positioning of full instrument panel assemblies is part of the production process. Instrument panel assemblies are increasingly complex and unwieldy. Automating this installation is another key measure to avoid squeaks and rattles – reinforcing the perceived quality of the car’s materials.
The new Fiesta’s architecture features rigid front and rear subframes which incorporate powertrain and chassis systems. Built-up front subframes are ‘married’ to the Fiesta body structure in an automated system, which precisely positions the subsystem and fastens it rigidly to the body via robot-installed stretcher bolts.