After 47 years, one of Britain’s best-loved cars is finally headed for the scrapyard.

Ford said that by the end of June 2023 released its latest ever Fiestawhich first appeared in showrooms in 1976.

After spending several years at the top of the sales lists, the compact, cheap to build and cheap to run car went through eight generations.

And when the US manufacturer announced that the model was “done” and was instead focusing on electrics, nostalgic Brits praised its “iconic” rise to dominance.

Henry Ford II with the first Ford Fiesta in 1976

Response to the oil crisis of 1973

The very first Fiesta rolled off the assembly line in Valencia in 1975, and Henry Ford II chose an appropriate Spanish name to celebrate its roots.

It was developed in response to the 1973 oil crisis, which saw the price of rocket fuel rise and motorists needed more cost-efficient cars.

Competitors Ford Fiat, Renault and Volkswagen have already overtaken them in this.

But seeing what its rivals had to offer meant that when ‘Project Bobcat’ finally got its first Fiesta ready for sale, it was a more complete offering.

The Ford Fiesta is manufactured at the Ford Motor Company in Dagenham.  Ford Motor Company is celebrating the production of the 10 millionth car that rolled off the Dagenham assembly line.
Manufactured at the Dagenham plant in Essex

It was first produced in the UK at Ford’s famous Dagenham, Essex plant in 1977 – the same year it appeared alongside Roger Moore in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.

By 1980, one million Fiests had been sold worldwide, and by 1982 the number had risen to two million.

Then it became clear that it won British hearts, becoming the best-selling car in the UK.

    The next-generation model of Ford's best-selling subcompact car is the Fiesta.  The world premiere of the new version, complete with a new engine, a new interior, the latest safety system and advanced entertainment systems, will take place at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
Interior plan of an early Fiesta

It remained at number one here and in Germany for six years until 1986.

In 1993, in response to growing concerns about passenger safety, airbags became standard on all Fiests.

Between 1996 and 1998, it once again became a British bestseller.

Ford Fiesta 1977 Already in 1972, the Ford company began the development of a small economy car that was supposed to be a multi-family' ideal car partner at a time when fuel prices were rising rapidly.  The Ford Fiesta was introduced in 1976 and won the title
James Bond star Roger Moore in 1977

UK production ends

As Ford focused on global dominance, the British Fiesta operation was in jeopardy.

After the sale of rival Rover for just £10, staff at the Dagenham plant staged protests to warn bosses against job cuts.

Ford workers at a factory in Dagenham, Essex, protest in May 2000
Ford workers protest at the Dagenham plant in May 2000
Ford workers leave the Dagenham plant after job losses were announced in 2000
Ford workers walk out of Dagenham plant after job losses announced

But while Ford was expanding into new markets such as China, it was announced in mid-2000 that production of the Fiesta in the UK would end in Dagenham by 2002.

With nearly 2,000 layoffs, production of the Fiesta was moved to Cologne, Germany.

In 2013, the Dagenham Ford factory was demolished.

The Ford Fiesta is launched in Chongqing, China in January 2003
Ford Fiesta is produced in Chongqing, China in January 2003

A household name popular with celebrities

But even though the Fiesta is no longer made in the UK, it has remained a popular choice among Brits.

Around the turn of the millennium, he brought two people together in holy matrimony.

RAC worker Carlos Villamor fell in love with Charlotte Wood when he went to fix her broken-down Fiesta after it stalled at a roundabout in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.

Carlos Villamor and Charlotte Wood met when her Ford Fiesta broke down in London
Carlos Villamor and Charlotte Wood met when her Ford Fiesta broke down in London

They were photographed with her beloved car when they married in June 2000.

The following year, 22-year-old art student Marianne Downs lost a year’s work in her sister’s car when it was stolen and left burnt out.

But rather than accept failure, she decided to make the burning car the subject of her final year thesis at the University of Sunderland.

In 2001, Marianne Downs gets into a Ford Fiesta to get her art degree
In 2001, Marianne Downs gets into a Ford Fiesta to get her art degree

More generally, it has become a popular choice for first-time drivers and has benefited from an increase in female commuters.

The Fiesta also received celebrity endorsements from models Nell McAndrew and Jodie Kidd.

Nell McAndrew launches Ford Fiesta Mark 1 in 2006 for the car's 30th anniversary
Nell McAndrew with a Mark 1 Ford Fiesta in 2006 for the car’s 30th anniversary

Actor Idris Elba claimed that before his TV and film career, he spent two years creating parts for the Fiest at the Dagenham factory.

During the early 2000s, television personalities such as Alesha Dixon and Peter Andre were also involved in the launch of new models.

Pop star Alesha Dixon unveiled the new Ford Fiesta Zetec S in July 2008
Pop star Alesha Dixon unveiled the new Ford Fiesta Zetec S in July 2008

The move to electricity threatens the future

Despite new features like keyless start and hybrid technology, the Fiesta has outperformed its competition in recent years.

Among Ford’s offerings, buyers are opting for new models such as the Puma, while its rival Vauxhall has taken the top spot in the UK’s best-selling car rankings with the latest Corsa in 2021.

The Fiesta was still the sixth best-selling new car in the UK in September, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers.

New Ford Fiesta cars are on board the motor transport vessel "Tosa" traveling along the Rhine from the Ford plant in the German city of Cologne to the Dutch seaport of Vlissingen, near Nijmegen in the Netherlands, September 13, 2013. A surge in UK car sales and an extra working day boosted Europe's September new car market provided fresh evidence that demand is gradually bottoming out after a decline that has not been seen in more than 20 years.  The automotive industry association ACEA said on Wednesday that new car registrations in Europe rose 5.5 percent to 1.19 million vehicles in September, just the third month in two years.  Picture taken September 13, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS, INDUSTRIAL TRANSPORT, MARITIME) ..EDITOR'S ATTENTION: PHOTO 10 OF 17 FOR 'FORD - JOURNEY DOWN THE RHINE' PACKAGE .SEARCH 'FORD RHINE' FOR ALL DISCOVERED
Undated photo of new Ford Fiesta ST.  See PA Feature MOTORING Road Test.  The photo must be: Ford/PA.  WARNING: This image is to be used to accompany the PA Feature MOTORING road test only.

But it didn’t make the top 10 more broadly.

Having decided to end production next year, Ford is counting on a UK ban on new diesel and petrol cars by 2030.

The company said it will sell only electric cars in Europe from now on.

The Fiesta wasn’t the only casualty of the shift to sustainable technology, however, with the Focus recently dropped too – and no electric alternative in development.

“It’s not a big or fancy car, but people liked it”

Fiesta fans mourned Wednesday’s announcement on social media after Ford released a decades-long breakdown of the car.

“It wasn’t a big car, it wasn’t a fancy car, but people liked it,” the clip says.

The tweet added: “It’s time to say goodbye to the little machine that touched us all. Big moments, little moments and all the “firsts” – thanks for the memories.

“As one era ends, another is just beginning – we can’t wait to show you what we have in store.”

Responding to this on social media, Brits shared their anecdotes about owning Fiestas – with many asking why the model couldn’t be made electric and others calling it a “British icon”.