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Ford CEO Alan Mullaly told Detroit radio station WJR that the company is reconsidering whether to bring its smallest car to the U.S. market. Ford officially introduced the second-generation Ka last week at the Paris Motor Show and up until now has not planned to offer the car in the U.S. The Ka is much smaller than even the Fiesta that will arrive in early 2010. The rising demand for small cars in the U.S. market has prompted Ford to reconsider its marketing plans for the Ka. The Ka is available in Europe with a choice of 1.2L gas or 1.3L diesel engines. If Ford does decide to bring the Ka to the U.S., it likely wouldn't arrive before 2010 or '11 at the earliest. The one thing that could make help the Ka arrive earlier would be if federal regulators grant a waiver to allow automakers to temporarily bring in small cars that don't meet current U.S. regulations until they can be modified. If that were to happen, the Ka could arrive sooner. The diesel Ka with a start stop system is rated at 60.3 mpg (U.S.) in Europe.

[Source: BusinessWeek]


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  • 24 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yes, by all means, adopt the Euro standard. It's already expensive enough for car manufacturers to comply to different countries' (often protectionist) standards. The let the public decide what cars they want.

      To encourage small car use, add more tax to gasoline (to be used for sagging and neglected infrastructure, including roads and mass transit) and offer cheaper (like half as much) licensing and insurance fees compared to full-sized cars and trucks.

      Next, allow Americans and Canadians to ship cars home from their European vacations. Add a modest duty (around 5-10%), unless there is already a free trade agreement in place.
        • 6 Years Ago
        he problem with the approach mentioned is simple. Greedy politicians. The extra money would never see the infrastructure improvements it was meant for.

        We have been told for years that no money was available for our crumbling country. Not for new schools with up to date computers. Not for bridges ready to collapse. Not for high speed rail or public transportation. Of course, this all turned out to be a lie. Evidently, all that money which would have created millions of jobs, just wasn't there.

        Unless, of course, you have a crooked Wall St. firm that needs a Trillion or so dollars.

        A big gas tax without actually spending the money on energy efficient public transport and long distance rail only means that the average person will be even less able to attain and maintain a middle class lifestyle.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ford won't bring this car to the U.S. market because it makes too much sense! That's right...leave it to U.S. automakers to develop a great little car like this that would sell tremendously well, and watch them withold it from the U.S. market!

      Apparently, automakers like Ford aren't interested in making money any more, or in bringing cars to market that people actually want! This car would be a HUGE success for Ford in the U.S.; especially in diesel form. And that's precisely why we'll never see it in the U.S.!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Germany is on their 5th series of small cars. I have a Ford Ka and a Smart car. They have excellent gas milage. The back seat is a tight fit, but when you adjust the seat foward in the Ka, it is not to bad. Over here the Ka only costed 23,000 euro. and it is worth every penny. So wake up America, these are the kind of cars we need... not gas guzzlers!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Don't forget that these little car to keep up with traffic need to be rev hard with manual gearbox and that doesn't represent american driving style..
        • 6 Years Ago
        Despite really-really high fuel prices, most Europeans, (especially I as an Italian,) drive as much, if not more erratically in driving style as Americas.
      • 6 Years Ago
      60.3 mpg - very nice, if we ever do get it I'm sure they will throw in much bigger size engine and we will get ~24mpg
      • 6 Years Ago
      If Ford thinks these cars will sell, then bring them in,but only after they meet emissions standards. I predict they wil sell some perhaps as much as 50,000 for the entire segment by all offerors.

      The EU mileage ratings are extravagantly optimistic to say the least.

      They are even more optimistic than Cafe and that is about ten mpg better than EPA guesses. Per the EPA, the US auto fleet gets slightly over 21 mpg. The CAFE measurement of NHTSA say 32 mpg. The EU standard is even more optimistic. So on arrival we wil find these types of "A" class vehicles lucky to obtain 40 mpg, in real life driving.
        • 6 Years Ago
        why should they have to meet MORE standards, they already meet European standards which I'm sure are by no means lax. I'd rather have a 60mpg car that pollutes a bit more than a 30mpg car. CO2 is more important to reduce than cutting NOx by a tiny margin.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I dunno.. My Jetta TDI was rated at 49 hiway by the EPA back in '99, and I am getting around 52-56 MPG on an average tank.. getting 5-10 more MPG out of a smaller car with 0.6L less displacement should be do-able..
      • 6 Years Ago
      I agree: "To encourage small car use, add more tax to gasoline (to be used for sagging and neglected infrastructure, including roads and mass transit) and offer cheaper (like half as much) licensing and insurance fees compared to full-sized cars and trucks."

      This is precisely what they do in Europe and Japan.

      Also if they double the gas tax in Arizona, where I live, it would not even be noticed. 18 cents to 36 cents, big deal! The prices are so volatile that no one would even notice.
        axiom
        • 6 Years Ago
        In Europe most of the driving is done in the city. You DO NOT drive long distances to go anywhere in Europe. They also have many public transportation options including train, subway, and planes. (I flew from Italy to Paris for $40 a couple years ago), that are much more accessible and economical than public transport here.

        Their infrastructure is ENTIRELY different from ours. There is no "suburbia" in Europe. The rich stay right in the cities, and its common to see a Ferrari or the newest super car mixed in with traffic. Those who can't afford the gas (the vast majority) use mopeds or public transportation to get to the city.

        People here that live in the suburbs are spending $500-$1500 a MONTH right now on gas. If you increase taxes anywhere comparable to European rates, you'll see even more foreclosures and bankruptcy's. The US is HEAVILY dependent on cars for transportation, and going long distances is a necessity just for work and groceries. If you want to turn middle class suburbs into homeless shanty towns, then by all means raise the tax on gas (this would also guarantee political suicide for whoever signs it). What idiots.
        • 6 Years Ago
        18 cents a gallon? I still don't believe this would be "political suicide". We are driving 30 billion miles less in the first six months of 2008. The gas tax will drop by 360 million dollars for the same six months at 18 cents a gallon at 15 miles per gallon. At 71/2 miles per gallon it is 720 million dollars. The extra six dollars and 30 cents I spend a month now won't even show up on my gas budget. Don't eat lunch out once a month and I break even. Drink water instead of soda for two days I break even. 18 CENTS. I find that much on the floor of my small business every day! 18 CENTS!
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree completely: higher taxes would have prevented these problems here long ago. Suburbanites would be driving more efficient cars that cost them less on balance, and perhaps would have chosen NOT to move so far away from where they work.
        Responders: guess WHY Europe has more public transportation options? Taxes! Most Americans have lost all sense of social responsibility, demanding services but refusing to PAY for them. What's next - destroying our public school system because it's "socialist"?
        If you want to continue our slide into a 3rd world country, just keep voting for Reagan/Bush/NeoCons and their Trickle-Up economics.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I believe bringing the Ka to the USA would be a profitable venture if build alongside Fiat 500 in Mexico and to put your new 3 Cylinder engine in it. This car would serve two purposes. One, it would be competitive with Toyota, Nissan, and Fiat 500, plus it would give first time young people and introduction to the Ford Motor Companies product lines. Secondly it would meet the need of the older generation that needs a city car for going back and forth to work in a smaller would be more fuel efficient. I do not believe it would hurt Fiesta sale as there are lots of cars being driven bye only one person that does not need a 4 door gar.
      maribell
      • 6 Years Ago
      The reason Ford won't bring this car is because they would then have trouble selling their big ugly cars like the Taurus/FIvehundred and the Crown Victoria.. Even the Fusion is due for a change. I have family in Argentina and then are tons of good, small Fords and Chevrolets down there.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @maribell
        I propose $0.05 increase in federal gasoline taxes per gallon on that portion of gasoline derived from ground extracted petroleum per year over the next 40 years. Petroleum derived diesel, the most efficient technology and most used in transport of commercial goods, would not be taxed until cost competitive renewable sources of diesel have been realized.

        Revenues would be used for rebates to consumers using renewable energy vehicles, public transportation projects, repairing our aging infrastructure and R & D of renewable energy technologies.

        Offsetting tax adjustments to the poor and enhanced rebates for those living in expansive Western areas who purchase alternate and fuel efficient vehicles would be part of the deal.

        The gradual increase in the amount of the tax as we transition into renewables would hardly be noticed.

        We need to catch up with the rest of the world in this ideology.

        Let's be grown-ups and work with sensible taxation policies such as this.

        I know what speaking of increased taxation invokes in so called "conservative" circles. So I preemptively call you all idiots first.

      • 6 Years Ago
      i live in the dallas,texas area. my wife and i are retired, we currently drive a '96 honda accord (gets abouy 28 mpg city, and also have a 2004 toyota pre-runner ( 20 /21 mpg). with the numbers of " retiring senior citizens" growing drasticallly every year, i believe a lot of us would like to drive a ford ka sub compact for the general local driving around,like going to the market,cleaners, movies,etc. we dont need a big car anymore as the kids are gone. i think this would grat to get a small that gets 50 to 60 mpg on our limited income. my .o2 c. thanks
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yes, if Ford doesn't get their heads out of their you know whats, the Japanese will sale me a similar car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Vehicles are largely a LIFESTYLE item. I'm sorry, but not everyone can use a tiny little car. If you are a family of 4 and you have any kind of life, a prius or Ka is just too SMALL!
      All the great mileage in the owrld is useless if the vehicle doesn't carry your family, your gear or whatever else you use it for.

      This is a large country, we drive farther than most countries and do more things than most countries, there will always be a need for suv's and pickup trucks, please don't slam people who need them.

      Personaly I think it's all about money...75% of the people who have jumped on the "green" bandwagon are doing it because of money...if gas had never gone over $1.50/gal... we would hardly hear about any of this...most people don't really care about anything except their own pocket book!

      Yes, let's do what we can, but cut people down with a broad sword, because YOU think, you know beeter what someone else "should" be driving.
      As for Ford...unless you work in financing for them, you have no idea what it costs to "bring the euro cars here", i don't care what you've read on the rumor web!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Granted, if you have only 1 car for a family of 4, tiny cars like Ka and Smart won't work for you. But a huge majority of American families have MORE than one car and it is a small adjustment indeed to have your 2nd car be small and fuel efficient for the vast majority of trips: to work, grocery store, etc.
        Americans are clamoring for fuel-efficient cars; if Detroit executives had stopped burying their heads in the sand and looked ahead only 5-10 years - we're not talking rocket science here - they would not now be in the toilet they deserve. Smart was first manufactured 10 years ago; the no-longer-Big Three have made small world cars for decades but always refused to sell them here at home. They better get their act together NOW and offer ALL their smallest cars here, if they have any hope of preventing their imminent bankruptcy.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes it's about the money, exactly why if we had higher gas taxes all along as incentive to drive more efficient cars, we wouldn't be in the desperate mess we are in now.
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