In October 2022, Ford Motor Company announced that the Fiesta subcompact hatchback, one of its longest-running and most popular models in Europe, would be discontinued in summer 2023.

That time has come and the final Ford Fiesta vehicle will roll off the Cologne plant's assembly line on July 7, according to a report from Autocar.

Ford is axing the Fiesta to make room for the electric Ford Explorer SUV that will be made at the Cologne Electric Vehicle Center, which officially opened on June 12. "We decided to build our first high-volume electric vehicle here in Cologne," Martin Sander, general manager of Ford Model e Europe told Autocar in December 2022.

"There comes the point where we need the space for construction, because we are turning the Fiesta plant into a fully battery-electric plant. This is why we had to make a decision that we have to stop Fiesta production."

The Cologne EV Center, Ford's first carbon-neutral factory, is expected to start production of the electric Ford Explorer SUV this year after a $2 billion investment. 

Gallery: 2023 Ford Explorer Electric

Built on Volkswagen Group's MEB platform for electric vehicles, the two-row mid-size (by European standards) electric SUV will become Ford's first volume all-electric passenger car built in Europe.

Ford hasn't disclosed powertrain details yet, but it said the Explorer EV offers "responsive and refined" rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive battery-electric powertrains that will offer DC fast charging times from 10 percent to 80 percent as low as 25 minutes. 

The automaker is targeting a starting price under $49,150 (45,000 euros) when orders open later this year in Europe. 

The electric Explorer will be one of nine all-electric vehicles Ford plans to introduce in Europe by 2024, including a second MEB-based "sports crossover" model that will enter production in Cologne from mid-2024, and the Puma EV that will be manufactured in Craiova, Romania from 2024 alongside the E-Transit Courier and E-Tourneo Courier small electric vans.

Ford expects to sell 600,000 EVs annually in Europe by 2026 under its Model e division. The company previously said it would sell only EVs in Europe starting in 2030.

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