Before we fill you in on the driving impressions of the Fiesta AT, we want to answer the question that's itching not only our readers, but the automotive enthusiasts at large - Why did Ford leave out the automatic transmission for diesel variants?
We served this question to an official recently and found out that Ford needs about 40-50k units global sales annually of this variant to sanction it. At the moment, India's among the few countries where diesel cars beat petrol cars hands down in numbers. Countries such as China, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and South Africa are petrol markets some of which love automatic transmissions.
The One Ford strategy does not permit a country-specific model unless the demand is massive. The logic behind the One Ford strategy is developing a model that can be suited to every region on the map. According to the same official pairing the automatic transmission to the 1.5-liter diesel engine "is easy" but the investment to deem the product market ready is considerable and at this time, the global demand is too little for Ford to consider it. The reality is it is an impossible feat for Ford India to sell 50k units of all Fiesta variants put together.
Ford India has not disclosed the sales target for the Fiesta AT. It expects to sell the equal number of automatic and manual transmissions in petrol in 2012. It is likely to be introduced at the Auto Expo in January 2012 where Ford makes a comeback after a two year hiatus.