Diesel models of the Ford Fiesta have proved so popular in the UK that that sales have doubled so far this year, averaging more than 1000 1.4 TDCi models each month of 2003. With the Fusion derivative’s diesel sales at 2,500 so far this year, it means that Ford is currently taking 19% of the small car diesel market in Britain.

The demand for diesel-powered cars has exploded in the last five years, creating a highly competitive and technology-led marketplace. Historically, diesel has been found in the larger car segments but today’s small car customer is looking for power, economy and the refinement of contemporary diesel engines.

Ford shares its new 1.4-litre diesel engine with PSA Peugeot-Citroen models as part of an joint venture that is also developing diesel engines for its Jaguar luxury car brand.

With 93 models available, sales of Ford diesel cars in July this year were up 24.9% on the same month in 2002, a 14% share of the market segment. Leading the entire diesel market in July was the Mondeo with 2,578  sales. So far this year, Ford has sold more than 50,000 diesel models.