First Generation (WA; 1986–1993)
Kia Motors (1986–2000)
Arab American Vehicles (1998)
|Also called||Kia Pride
|Assembly||South Korea: Sohari Plant, Gwangmyeong (Kia); Gwangju Plant, Gwangju (Kia)
China: Jiangsu (Dongfeng Yueda)
Iran: Tehran (SAIPA)
Iraq: Iskandariya (SAIPA)
Taiwan: (Ford Lio Ho)
Venezuela: Valencia (Ford Motor de Venezuela)
|Body style||2-door pickup (SAIPA)
5-door liftback (SAIPA)
|Platform||Mazda DA platform|
|Engine||1,138 cc Mazda B1 I4
1,290 cc Mazda BJ I4
1,324 cc Mazda B3 I4
|Transmission||3-speed Jatco 3N71 automatic
The first generation Ford Festiva was designed by Mazda in Japan at the request of parent company Ford. The Mazda-designed and built three-door hatchback was launched in Japan in 1986 under the name "Ford Festiva". Festiva utilized the front-wheel drive layout, and its mechanicals consisted of rack and pinion steering, independent front suspension with struts, coil springs and sway bar, and a torsion beam rear suspension. The Festiva was facelifted in 1989, receiving a redesigned grille insert and tail lamp lenses. In Japan at launch, the Festiva three-door was offered in L, L Special, S, Ghia, and Canvas Top specification levels. Ford retailed the Japanese market Festiva via the Autorama dealership network.Facelift Ford Festiva GL 3-door (US; MY 1992–1993) Facelift Ford Festiva β sedan (Japan)
In mid-1986, another Ford partner, Kia Motors in South Korea began production of the Festiva under license as the "Kia Pride". Starting from mid-1987 for the 1988 model year, Kia began exports to Canada under the "Ford Festiva" name, with United States sales commencing by the end of 1987. Ford offered a single 1.3-liter B3 four-cylinder engine and three trim levels: L, L Plus, and LX. The two base models featured a four-speed manual overdrive transmission, with the LX upgraded to a five-speed unit. A tachometer and tilt steering wheel also featured on the LX trim, as did alloy wheels, remote mirrors, cloth interior seating, and an AM/FM cassette radio. Ford released a minor facelift in North America for the 1990 model year. At the same time, the engine's fuel delivery system transitioned from carburetor to fuel injection, and transmission choices were revised with a standard five-speed manual transmission and optional three-speed automatic. Ford also replaced the manual front seat belts with motorized versions, and fitted manual rear seat belts as standard. For the 1991 model year, the L Plus and LX models were combined into a single GL trim. Optional power steering was deleted for 1992, and the GL gained alloy wheels and the availability of a "sport" package. The final 1993 model year brought no changes. Over the life of the Festiva in the United States, Kia exported roughly 350,000 units. The agreement with Ford materialized in accordance with Kia's strategy implemented in the mid-1980s to progressively fill the void at the low-cost end of the market slowly being abdicated by the Japanese brands pursuing more expensive models with higher profit margins. Compared to rival automakers in Japan, and also Europe and North America, Kia's main competitive advantage was its lower-paid South Korean workforce—which translated into lower-priced cars.
Mazda began producing the Festiva as the "Mazda 121" for Australia and Europe in 1987, but this model was never retailed in Japan. The 121 ended production in 1990, and was officially discontinued by Mazda Australia in February 1991. From October 1991, Ford Australia began importing the car as the "Ford Festiva" from Kia's South Korean production facility. Where the Mazda was sold as a three-door hatchback, the Ford was sold initially as a five-door only. From January 1993, a Festiva three-door, badged "Festiva Trio" was launched in Australia. Both versions were powered by the overhead camshaft carbureted 1.3-liter B3 engine with the five-speed manual transmission; a three-speed automatic was optional for the five-door. Standard equipment in Australia included an AM/FM radio, tachometer, intermittent windscreen wipers, remote releases for the rear door and fuel tank filler door, with air-conditioning available as an option. Ford discontinued the Festiva in the Australian market in March 1994.
Ford Australia's action was paralleled in Europe where Kia started exporting three- and five-door hatchback, four-door sedan, and five-door wagon variants of the Kia Pride in 1991 under their own name. These additional sedan and five-door hatchback body variants were also imported from South Korea to Japan in left-hand drive form (Japan officially being a right-hand drive market) as the "Ford Festiva 5" and "Festiva β", respectively.
The 2008 edition of Monash University's Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR), found that the first generation Festiva provides a "worse than average" (two out of five stars) level of safety in the event of an accident, in a comparison to other "light cars". The safety rating was not calculated solely on the basis of the protection of the vehicle's occupants, with protection for "cyclists, pedestrians and drivers of other vehicles" included to give a "better guide to the total community impact of vehicle safety."
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