Adventures of an Undertaker in DFW with a new 2011 Ford Fiesta

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Spoke to Russ @ IIHS

Here are the FACTS from the horses mouth so to speak.

The 2011 Ford Fiesta (Pre July 2010) carries all of the same safety ratings as the Post July 2010 cars EXCEPT side impact. I specifically asked if there was a lower rating such as “good” or “acceptable” and he stated that “there is no rating for side impact for the 2011 Ford Fiesta on vehicles built Pre July 2010.”

According to Russ, Ford told them there was a “Possibility” that the door handles could activate in a side impact. He also said the “Hinges could move” and then he quickly backed off of that statement and re-focused on the “door handle activating”.

So, there you have it. That was too easy.


Spoke with Sam De La Garza Fiesta Brand Manager

Ford Fiesta sedan
2011 models mfg. after Jul. 2010
results also apply to: 2011 Ford Fiesta hatchback (mfg. after Jul. 2010)

This is the TITLE to the link you provided. Even Sam, in our conversation said that they were “shocked and suprised” that IIHS worded the rating specifically excluding the Pre July 2010 cars. He is very supportive, and was disappointed to say the least in the exemption language, he was not expecting it.

Without the NHTSA rating, the only official testing that has been done, is Ford’s own testing. I feel better about the situation than I did yesterday. Sam was very frank and forthcoming. I am still disappointing but gained a tremendous amount of respect for Sam taking time to speak to me.
n my conversation with Sam yesterday, he explained the whole process of how they test the cars internally. I have no reason to believe that he was telling me nothing more than the 100% truth. I would venture based on his explanation that their tests are probably much more intense than the IIHS or NHTSA. I concede that fact. As I said before, Sam said the IIHS caveat about the pre July 2010 vehicles caught them off guard as well, I can’t remember how he put it exactly, but needless to say they were not expecting it, and I think they were a bit suprised (my assumption here) that the articles also included the fact in the “in your face” tone that they did, i.e. Jalopnik’s article “You early adopters are out of luck”. That statement, right there from Jalopnik’s article is what really pissed me off. Sam said that the expected right away, after reading the article that they knew it was probably going to set off a hornets nest of folks on the blogs and forums. He told me that he was planning something to put everyone’s mind at ease, such as coming here and posting, and I expect the “live chat event” on Ford’s website that was referenced earlier is probably aimed at calming some of that chatter.
Out of respect for Sam, and his willingness to take time out of his day to talk to me, I did not press him on further details. My question to him was “What can you tell me” His analogy for the fix/upgrade/use of the word Robust was like packing a box to send your mother and deciding to put an extra piece of packing tape on the box.

Thats what the conversation consisted of, other than some personal banter and pleasantries.

We will see. It will be interesting to see what NHTSA has to say. Clearly they won’t be testing pre July 2010 cars so we will probably never know what really the difference is unless someone can get their hands on the diagrams out of the service manual of the two doors and compare the drawings.

2011 Fiesta IIHS “Top Safety Pick” unless

The Ford Fiesta sedan/hatchback is the first minicar to earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award since the IIHS added a roof strength requirement for rollover protection.

The Fiesta was recognized as a Top Safety Pick after earning good ratings for front, side, rollover, and rear crash protection, and for having electronic stability control as standard equipment. No other minicar the Institute has tested has earned top ratings in all four safety evaluations.

But, the Fiesta’s award only applies to cars built after July 2010 because Ford made design changes to strengthen the outside door handles to minimize the possibility of doors opening in side impact crashes. Sorry early adopters, you’re out of luck.

Sure, this may sound like a rather pedestrian story, but would you look at these crash photos? God we love good crash photos. We hate cars crashing, and we hate people gawking at car crashes when they’re driving by ’em, but for some reason we can’t look away from the photos.
(Fair Credit to Jalopnik)
Emails to the author of this article went un-answered.

So, I email Angie Kozaleski, Director of Communications for Ford Motor Company. I promptly get a tweet from someone much higher up the ladder than her in Dearborn, at Ford. They want to “chat”….I was tied up, really wanted to talk to this person, they she/he this person is supposed to call me tommorow and we will see.

I want a solution to the problem, not excuses. I don’t know what they found wrong with the pre July 10 cars, but it was enough to redesign the door handle and add a “More Robust” product. The word “Robust” tells me that that whatever it was/is it is serious enough that th IIHS would not give Ford the “Top Pick” unless they redesigned the door. I want to know what they changed, how serious it was, and if it needs to be fixed on my car.

I will find out! That I can assure you.

More to come.

Time for some pics….

Here are some pics of my Fiesta….

Car is running great…looks great!

Really want to get my wife into a Fiesta. When the 09 Focus Hits 50,000 miles we will probably start looking, that’s about 12,000 miles away!
In other news approaching 3000 miles, will probably change the oil. I always like to get the break in oil out at 3000, and switch to Mobil 1!

2000 Mile Mark

Passed the 2000 mile mark, average MPG 37. Car is doing well, looks great and everyone who sees it loves it. I really think this car is going to kill the Focus (current model) Sam Pack’s 5 Star Ford has a HUGE Red Tag event going on if you want a good deal on a Focus! They are making room for the Fiesta’s! New Pictures coming next week, when ye’ ole undertaker can take a day off to go out and get some great pictures around DFW. Last week was very busy and just didn’t have time to mess with the car, or blog because I was too busy working.

Car is now complete!

Door sill plates, keyless keypad, new leather shifter and cargo management system installed. Also received the interior protection kit (winter floor mats)

Topped 700 miles….had a very prominent professional driver take my Fiesta on the road….

I had the pleasure today to have a gentleman, a professional driver who has driven just about every luxury automobile made (30 plus years as a VIP driver) who has worked for the Saudi Arabian Royal family, and has driven everything from Bentley’s to Rolls Royce Phantom’s…..the verdict?

Rides as good and as quiet, or quieter than a Rolls Royce, and most definately better than the 2010 Cadillac Limousine’s and Funeral Cars he drives today in retirement!  He loved it!

Window Tint and dealing with a “misbuild”

Well, the first post-delivery visit to the dealership today to get the window tinting, and to deal with a few things that were, well “Missing in action”. As I was sitting here the other night reading through my owners manual, and looking at the window sticker “options” section and realized that my Metallic Door Sill plates, Keyless entry Keypad, and Leather gearshift knob, and all weather interior package were missing.

The WONDERFUL people at SAM PACK’s 5 Star Ford in North Richland Hills Texas checked the paperwork and got right on it! The window tint looks great….they even detailed it again….It was sitting on their prime display spot in front of the building when we came back to get it.   Still the only one in Dallas best we can tell!

Ford Fiesta Factory Tour!

Check out the following link for a tour of the Ford Facility in South America where the Fiesta is built!