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by Tim Beissmann

Ford Australia has no plans introduce the new Ford Fiesta Econetic despite significant upgrades that make the impressive city car Ford of Europe’s most fuel-efficient vehicle ever.

The updated Fiesta Econetic uses just 3.3 litres of diesel per 100km and emits 87 grams of CO2 per kilometre, making it almost nine per cent more efficient than the model it replaces.

But Ford Australia’s Neil McDonald says the brand will not bring the frugal Fiesta here after phasing out the previous model earlier this year.

McDonald said while it was “an impressive hero vehicle for fuel economy”, holding the title of Australia’s most fuel-efficient car for more than two years, the $24,990 Econetic model never sold in large numbers, averaging just 20 per month.

Making the Econetic’s business case even harder to justify is its limited production. While all other Fiesta sedans and hatches sold in Australia come from Thailand, the Econetic is only produced in Germany, adding to import price and complexity.

McDonald said while Ford Australia continues to look at the fuel efficiency of its overall product line-up, it believes Fiesta buyers are “currently well served with the existing 1.6-litre TDCi”, which uses 4.4L/100km on the combined cycle.

The new Ford Fiesta Econetic is powered by a 70kW/205Nm 1.6-litre diesel engine (up 4kW/5Nm), which is teamed for the first time with stop-start technology, regenerative brake energy recuperation and an Eco Mode to aid efficiency. A five-speed manual continues as the only transmission option.

Other features adding to the Econetic’s fuel efficiency include optimised gear ratios, lowered suspension, low-rolling resistance tyres and undershield and wind deflectors.

The updated Econetic also benefits from the styling updates that were applied to the rest of the range in the second half of 2010 when the WT Fiesta replaced the WS model.

Ford says half of all its cars sold in Europe will wear an Econetic badge by the end of 2012, and expects that level to increase to two thirds by 2013.

Ford Australia does not currently offer any Econetic models. The only other Econetic nameplate to be offered down under, the Ford Transit Econetic van, was introduced in July 2010 but was phased out before the launch of the updated engine range in January 2012.