AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Ford Motor Company of New Zealand recently unveiled its much anticipated AB35 Fiesta, an All Blacks inspired limited edition Fiesta to celebrate Ford New Zealand’s 17-year sponsorship of the All Blacks.
Chris Masterson, marketing manager at Ford New Zealand, said, “The AB35 project was all about showing our commitment to the All Blacks this year. We had a huge amount of fun designing this car and it was great to be able to finally reveal it to the public.”
Ford New Zealand teamed up with twenty All Blacks players and a team of specialists to create 35 of the unique AB35 Fiestas. While 34 have already gone on sale at designated Ford dealers, the 35th vehicle was sold for charity. Proceeds were split between three charities: Ford New Zealand’s official charity, Variety - the Children’s Charity and the New Zealand Rugby Union’s official charity partners, Plunket and KidsCan.
The AB35 Fiesta is based on a European-built Ford Fiesta Titanium-spec 5-speed manual with a Ford’s 1.6-litre Ti-VCT Sigma engine. As demonstrated in a series of five promo videos on Ford’s AB35 website, the team then transformed the vehicle.
Most notably, the exterior received an advanced and sporty facelift with a Mountune Body Kit, which includes a carbon lip front spoiler, rear spoiler extension and side skirts. The special Fiesta also includes limited edition 17″ wheels, and stunning graphics – plus a personalized plate.
The interior received a new Sony stereo system that features component speakers, an external crossover unit, an 800W Sony Amplifier and a 1000W subwoofer in a custom, fiberglass fitting in the tyre well. Other interior extras include alloy pedals, full leather seats with AB35 Logo and a leather-wrapped illuminated gear knob.
And Ford New Zealand spent just as much time redesigning what is under the hood as well. To give the AB35 Fiesta more kick, it features a Mountune MP140 Power Upgrade. This consists of a high-flow air induction system, a high performance free flow cat-back exhaust system, including high-flow catalyst and tubular manifold, twin exhausts, oxygen sensors and re-calibration of Ford’s 1.6-litre Ti-VCT Sigma engine to boost performance to an exhilarating 104kW.
In other words, the special Fiesta has been tweaked to increase power output by 18 percent over the stock specification, and thereby substantially decreasing 0-100km/h sprint time from 9.9 to 7.9 seconds.
“The AB35 Fiesta represents the spirit of our brand. It’s a sporty dynamic, premium car that’s small on price but big on features. People who get behind the wheel of this car will find it a fantastic driving experience, and show their support for the All Blacks,” said Masterson.
Ford New Zealand ran the AB35 campaign over five weeks, releasing a short video each week on national television and directing people online to the dedicated AB35 website. At the AB35 site, people could view the full videos, register for updates, click through to the Ford New Zealand Facebook page and also enter the "Parts Pursuit" contest.
The "Parts Pursuit" contest was an online scavenger hunt with first prize being a 12-month lease of an all-new Fiesta Zetec. Eager participants registered on the AB35 site and then searched for AB35 'clues' at various web sites, swapping information about clues on the Ford New Zealand Facebook page. The online contest has had more than 3,000 participants chasing clues around the internet and the AB35 website had more than 80,000 visitors. Ford New Zealand's Facebook page added more than 4,000 fans during the campaign and now has more than 15,000 fans.
"While the AB35 Fiesta has been a great way to celebrate our relationship with the All Blacks this year, it has also been a great way to get many New Zealanders thinking differently about Ford," added Masterson. "By using the Fiesta, it helps reinforce the message that Ford has a complete range of smart vehicles that are not only fun to drive but are also very fuel efficient. In fact, with the Fiesta ECOnetic we have the country's most fuel efficient vehicle – a point highlighted in the videos.
"Also, by using social media and promoting the campaign largely to lifestyle media, we've been able to effectively reach a wider non-motoring audience. It's been a great campaign for us," said Masterson.