Like it or not, we live in a global economy. Products that international corporations sell in the United States also have to be sold in other countries around the world. This “globalization” has brought locksmiths a lot of good things and bad things. As far as I’m concerned, the worst was the original Cadillac Catera, sold as an Opel in Europe with a European style transponder system. Because of the European nature of the system and GM’s reluctance to release PIN codes, replacing a lost key may now cost more than the car is worth.
On the bright side, we now have a wealth of so-called “domestic” vehicles that feature a door lock that can be removed by loosening a single screw. At one time this feature was pretty much limited to German vehicles such as VW and Audi. Now, most Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles as well as many GM vehicles use this system.
The new Ford Fiesta falls somewhere between these two extremes. It uses the new high-security side-milled lock system that Ford plans to phase in on all of their vehicles worldwide. It also has a transponder system that is essentially the same as other Ford products.
It features an easily removable door and ignition lock, but both of these locks have some odd features. I had the Fiesta in Photo 1 for three days and had a lot of fun with it, but I sincerely hope that the lock system becomes a little more “locksmith-friendly” before it starts turning up on every Ford.
The Fiesta will be available in three different features and trim levels. The base models, like the one in Photo 1, have a door lock only on the driver’s door and an ignition lock, but no trunk or glove compartment lock. The mid-range Fiesta does not have a door lock, as shown on Photo 2, but still has an ignition lock. The top of the line Fiesta shown in Photo 3 had not been released by the time I’m writing this, but it will have no door lock and no ignition lock, and will feature push-button starting.
I have been assured that the top of the line Fiesta will have an override lock somewhere on the exterior of the vehicle, so it can be unlocked if the battery dies or if there is an electronic problem. The trouble is that no one seems to know where that lock will be.
When I took these photos last January at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, I questioned Ford executives about the override lock. All of them agreed that it would be equipped with one, but didn’t know where it would be. After searching the car that was on display, we finally agreed that it probably didn’t have one because it was a show car and not a production car. I hope to solve this apparent mystery at the 2011 show, and will pass along the information in a future article.
Unlocking the Fiesta
Another problem that I had when I checked out the Fiesta last January was with the door locking system, Photo 4. The Fiesta does not have a mechanical lock mechanism on the inside of the doors at all - no mechanical button, no rocker. The only way to lock the car from the inside is to push the power door lock button in the center of the dash. Unlocking the car can be done from the inside with the power door lock control or just by pulling the inside door handle.
With that in mind, I checked to see if the power door lock button on the dash (Photo 5) would work after the car had been locked for a while. I locked the car from the inside and then sat on the emergency brake handle (to avoid any weight sensor in the seats) for several minutes and then pushed the button. The car unlocked, and the alarm did not go off. I tried it again, by reaching through the open window to lock the car, and that time I waited ten minutes before I reached in to push the unlock button. Every time I tried it, the car unlocked.
The new Ford Fiesta uses the new high-security side-milled lock system that Ford plans to phase in worldwide. It also has a transponder system that is essentially the same as other Ford products.
These new Strattec high-security 2-track locks are intended to become the standard lock system for future GM vehicles.
All four use the GM Z-Keyway system and the “Circle Plus” transponder system. All can be programmed with the standard GM on-board programming procedure, which takes 30 minutes.