Ford Fiesta is pictured at a factory in Cologne, Germany, February 14, 2023.

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at last ford The Fiesta rolls off the assembly line on Friday, marking the end of an era when the car was a mainstay for millions of drivers around the world.

Since 1976, the Fiesta has been sold in more than 50 countries and produced more than 22 million vehicles, with the last new car produced on Friday.

In a nod to its importance, the auto giant will keep the last two Fiestas and place them in its heritage fleet in the UK and Germany.

“At Ford of Europe, we are rapidly transitioning to an electric future,” a Ford spokesman said in a statement.

They added: “As part of this transition, production at the Cologne Carnival will cease on July 7, 2023, and a new era for the Cologne Electromobility Center will begin.”

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In a statement last year, Ford said it would stop making the Fiesta, a small car with a distinctive design.

The company is pursuing a electrification strategyIt has previously said that its entire range of passenger cars in Europe “will be zero-emission” by mid-2026. The company aims to launch an all-electric lineup in Europe by 2030.

The moves come as European countries seek to wean themselves off fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

For example, the UK wants to stop the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2030 and require all new cars and vans to be zero-emission from 2035.

The EU, which the UK leaves on January 31, 2020, is also seeking emission reduction from road traffic.

The Ford Fiesta has undergone several design changes over the years.

National Automobile Museum/Heritage Images | Helton Archives | Getty Images

“The European market is shifting toward compact SUVs,” GlobalData auto analyst David Leggett said in comments emailed to CNBC.

“As far as Ford is concerned, it would rather sell a higher-margin Cougar than a small hatchback,” he added. “The Ford Focus will also disappear from European dealerships in 2025.”

Leggett believes that the rationalization of the model range partly reflects the “need for more investment in electrified vehicles.”

“The global semiconductor shortage in the wake of the pandemic has also accelerated the trend, as manufacturers prioritize their higher-margin models as they leave factories,” he said.

“Margins on small hatchbacks like the Fiesta are notoriously low,” he added. “Once sales drop, they quickly become unsustainable.”

Leggett also spoke of increased competition, noting that a “Chinese EV wave” is coming. “In short, there’s no real reason to invest in updating a model line like the Fiesta. Like the Focus, it’s had its days. For Ford, though, it’s a great car.”

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