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Adopting the "Escort" name used by Ford of Europe since along with the general design and layout of the third-generation European Escort , it was the successor of the Ford Pinto , which had a tarnished reputation for quality and safety after a widely publicized fuel tank defect. The Escort was one of Ford's most successful models in the s, earning a much better reputation than the Pinto. The Escort was the single best-selling car in its second year in the United States and during most of that decade. It also effectively replaced the smaller Ford Fiesta , which was imported from Europe from to