Ford has launched its Changan-built Fiesta in China with an official market launch on the southern resort island of Hainan.

China is the world's first market to introduce the four-door Fiesta sedan. The sedan and the five-door Fiesta hatchback are both built at the Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Company manufacturing facility in Nanjing.

Ford says that pre-sale demand for the car in China has surpassed expectations, with several thousand Chinese consumers placing orders ahead of the official launch.

Ford emphasised its local new media marketing campaign ahead of market launch. It said that more than 1.2 million people have downloaded Fiesta music from www.qq.com, a popular Chinese web portal. The Fiesta video has been shown more than 6.8 million times on www.Youku.com, China's version of YouTube.

Designed and developed in Europe for sale across Ford's global markets, Ford says the new Fiesta is the first in a series of fuel efficient new small cars developed through Ford's global product development process.

Ford says the China market variant has been customised and tailor-made to suit Chinese consumer tastes and requirements. Production of the new Fiesta for China began at the Nanjing plant on January 15.

"The introduction of new Ford Fiesta proves again Ford Motor Company's long-term commitment to China," said Robert Graziano, president and CEO, Ford Motor China. "The Ford Fiesta for China benefits directly from Ford's global expertise in small car design and engineering, and recognizes the needs of local market consumers with unique features that are specially tailored for China."

In addition to the Fiesta built at the Nanjing plant for the China market, Ford and Mazda's joint-venture facility, Auto Alliance Thailand will begin producing the new Fiesta next year.

In Europe, the new Fiesta is produced at Ford's plant in Cologne, Germany, as well as the plant in Valencia, Spain, for European markets.

Fiestas built in Cologne are also on sale now in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. In January, Ford's assembly facility in Valencia became the second European plant to start production of the new Fiesta.

Ford's plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico, will build the new Fiesta for the United States and other North American markets. Construction of the integrated stamping facility and retooling of the assembly plant is underway.

In North America, the new small car will be offered in two models: a sporty hatchback and a sedan, beginning in early in 2010.

In advance of the Fiesta's launch in the US, thousands of consumers across the country will have an opportunity to drive the Ford Fiesta. In a program called "Fiesta Movement," Ford will select up to 100 enthusiasts to drive the Fiesta and relate their experiences through social media sites, such as Facebook, providing Ford North America with early consumer feedback.