Next summer, Ford is planning to make a big grab for the US minicar market, with the introduction of the newly designed Ford Fiesta. In order to build buzz for the launch, the company went on a nationwide search for Fiesta Agents — web savvy personalities who could experience the car a year before it hits the market. Thousands of applications were received, with 100 winners selected to receive an imported European model for a six-month automotive affair. I’m extremely happy to be one of those lucky hundred, and I’ll be reporting on the experience here on Flavorwire as we get assigned “missions,” make videos, and generally hit the road. Plus, having a car in NYC is an experience of its own, and I’m looking forward to making the most of it. After the jump, learn more about the initiative, how it kicked off, and where it’s going.
This past weekend, the 30 or so East Coast based Fiesta Agents gathered in NYC for a two-day training session that ended with a trip to Raceway Park in Englishtown, NJ (in the rain, unfortunately), where we received the new Fiestas. As the cars are currently not in production Stateside, these are modified European versions, built in Germany and outfitted in the UK. One of the best results of this is that the onboard computer speaks with a British accent when informing you that “the boot is open.” I’ve heard reports that it also only understands you if you talk back in a British accent, which I very much look forward to investigating.
Over the course of the next six months, we’ll be assigned monthly missions via fiestamovement.com, where you can track the progress of all the participants. These will be based around themes, such as Travel or Social Activism, and will have us creating video content to document the resulting adventures. I’ll be bringing the rest of the Flavorpill crew along for the ride(s), so be sure to keep track of what we’re doing to better get to know the people behind the scenes. We’ll also be profiling some of the other agents, who range from YouTube stars to traveling musicians, to show off their work and offer insight as to how they made the grade.
We’re free to suggest missions of our own, so if there’s anything you’d like to see us do (within limits), feel free to offer suggestions in the comments below. In the meantime, explore the Fiesta Movement website, learn more about the car, and check out photos taken by the agents who picked up their cars in New York and LA.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that, while the Fiesta will be available in both manual and automatic transmission when it debuts here in 2010, the ones we got are all manual. Not everyone was all that familiar with driving stick, which made our time at the track — and subsequent journeys home — a combination of amusement, bewilderment, frustration, and occasional terror. I think if we each got a dollar for every time we stalled, many of us would be considerably wealthier by now. Instead, we’re just that much more humble.