• Nov 3, 2008


Click above for our high-res gallery of the 2009 Ford Ka

While his priority is to launch the Ford Fiesta in North America in 2010, the CEO of Ford told Automotive News that the Europe-only Ford Ka microcar might also be available in the United States. Alan Mulally said that an array of subcompact and Focus-sized cars will follow the Fiesta, and then the redesigned Ka (itself smaller than the Fiesta) may find itself on our shores. Mulally reiterated Ford's commitment to a small-car strategy, but admitted the company must find a way to achieve a decent profit margin on the inexpensive vehicles. The task is especially daunting when one considers the $8,000 to $10,000-plus margins the automaker banks on SUVs and big pickups.


[Source: Automotive News, subs. req'd]



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  • 46 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      The term "margin" is meaningless without knowing cost structure. In this context it should be expressed as a percentage.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have nothing against bringing a wider selection of small cars to the US, but remember the enormous amount of money that it takes to set up a car for sale in the US. It's not as simple as: "this car may fit the current demand, let's build it." It costs millions and millions of dollars.

      I think Ford will do very well with the new Focus, and new Fiesta. I don't think it would necessarily be a bad idea to wait and see what happens in the market before building/selling an even smaller vehicle in the US. Sales of these VERY small cars have not been that big here: I don't see scores of Aveos and Yaris' (Yari?) driving around. The Aspire and Festiva weren't great sellers either, and they were representative of that class of car in the day.

      Continued development of core vehicles, from Fiesta and Focus to Fusion and Taurus, combined with forthcoming small crossover vehicles may fill the need.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I guess it depends on the part of the country that you live in.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "I don't see scores of Aveos and Yaris' (Yari?) driving around. "

        Huh? I see tons of them, especially Yari. They are also sold out at most dealerships (or were up till last month), only available through a waiting list.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Who would buy a Smart over this?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Amen, brother. I've driven two different American-spec Smarts and they were both massive disappointments. Small cars should take advantage of their smallness and their lightness. They should be light on their feet, zippy, and fun. The Smart is none of those things. It drives like an 1,800 lb Ford Expedition.

        The Ka seems like the perfect antidote to the Smart.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree, This will a much better car than the smart for just about anyone in the market for this size car. I want!
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm skeptical about bringing this car here. I got a good look at the Ka when I was in Europe last month. It's very small and VERY cheap feeling. Unless you actually need the small size, a used car (perhaps a Civic or Corolla) is a far far far better buy.

        I could be wrong on this because Americans have bought other cheap-jack vehicles before (witness the original awful Hyundai Excel or the Pontiac/Daewoo Le Mans), but I don't think this car is a good match for the US market.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Thank you Ford for doing this!
        You're right, I'm not sure why anyone would buy a "smart" over this. Honestly, a Dacia Logan, Hyundai i10, TATA Indica, or any other city car would be preferable to the "smart".
      • 6 Years Ago
      The should just bring the Fiat 500 over and call it the Ka. They are basically the same car. The 500 gets the "Cute" factor like the Mini. Then they could get 18K for a nicely appointed base model and 25K for the people who want the little go-cart sports car.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Ford will be one to watch out for in the coming years. So many good new cars being planned.

      Fiesta
      Euro Focus
      New Fusion
      Ka
      New Taurus etc.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It is interesting to look at how the big three are tackling the current slump in completely differnet ways.

      GM- hybrids & take-overs
      Chrysler- hybrids & joint-ventures
      Ford- hybrids & global platform

      It really does look like Ford is taking the smartest approach.

      Everyone is in the hybrid game and Ford is no different. They are not jumping into the immensely expensive Prius/Volt R&D battle. Instead they are working on matting current hybrid technology to their EcoBoost engines and running that power through better transmissions.

      Instead of taking someone else's small car and rebadging it, Ford is taking their highly successful European Kinetic models and bringing them state-side. Arguably, this should have been done sooner but better late than never.

      On top of this Ford is continuing to offer new and innovative technology for the drivers and passengers at reasonable prices, i.e. the Sync.

      If there is a member of the Big 3 that will come out on top, it's Ford. They are taking the most conservative, and least expensive approach that is simultaneously the most obvious and attractive.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I completely agree.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ka is for skinny European girls who drive a manual.

      Can you imagine the 59hp Ka's engine mated to an automatic moving a couple of 250lb American bodies?
        • 6 Years Ago
        No, I can't imagine that. Much like I can't imagine Stevie Wonder or NY Governor David Paterson driving a car, period. What's your point?

        Two fatties in a Ka obviously ain't gonna work. That doesn't mean the idea is wrong.
      • 6 Years Ago
      These small cars should come with a body bag for two. I certainly would not want to be in any of these micro cars when American roads are jam packed with huge vehicles. These cars sell well in Europe because of their ridiculously high gas prices and the fact that huge vehicles are not common on their roads. Even a low speed "tap" by an F-150 would crush these sardine can cars! I'll pay the premium to be in a Accord/Sonata/Camry class vehicle!
        • 6 Years Ago
        This is plain stupid. So I should buy a big a$$ truck or SUV because Joe Redneck has one?

        These segment cars are meant for city driving - a segment that does not exists in NA - and they are doing an excellent job at it. The biggest problem with NA cars (beside quality) are the huge engines we use. Instead of using the advancements in engine development to offer smaller displacements with same power manufacturers are keeping the same displacement and fuel economy, and increasing power, just so they can sell to the market hooked on the ridiculous HP thing. NOBODY needs more than 100HP in a car. Normal people are not doing drag racing every day going to work.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ... said the guy who supports the Hyundai Accent...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes, Hyundai makes the Accent but is there a law that says its all or nothing? Cant i pick what models i like? Must a person who likes the Camry also like the Yaris and Tundra?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Supporting Hyundai is different from supporting the Accent dummy.
        • 6 Years Ago
        WTF?
        Doesn't Hyundai make the Accent?
        • 6 Years Ago
        If you have an irrational fear of small cars, that's your problem, but don't try to claim that it's based on facts.

        The Fiat 500, with which the Ka shares its platform, is the safest car in its class. Not that it's very far ahead of most of it's competitors which generally have pretty good crash ratings as well.
        Of course that's no perfect guarantee you won't get hurt in a crash, ever. But that's the same for every car, even 2-ton SUVs. The only difference is in the perception of the people.
        How safe you are in your car depends to a very large part on YOU. Your driving skills, awareness of your surroundings and road manners (i.e. defensive v. aggressive driving).
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have posted about my frustration with Ford over here on several occasions and I must accept that they are now doing things right, though, of course, I am a curmudgeon and prone to complaining about how long they are taking, ha, ha! Since gas prices went sky high, I have begun driving my wife's Focus SVT and I really love the car especially when I drive alone or with my tiny little terrier for company. I save a hack of a lot of money too. My current cars are paid off and I shall be buying two new ones, one for me and the other for She Who Must Be Obeyed next year. I like the idea of the Fusion Hybrid and if the Ka is also available late next year, the SVT might just go to buy it.

      I can now complain less as buying Fords has been an old habit which I can sustain. But then, I shall have to find something else to growl about and that doesn't make me very happy, ha, ha!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I love all of the good intentions Mulally, but unless you actually execute on them, all they do is pave the road to hell.
      • 6 Years Ago
      If Ford can keep the weight down after "Federalization", keep the MSRP low enough so that a customer will not be tempted for say for "an extra $15 bucks a month to upgrade into a Fiesta or even Focus" and the savings on gas are sufficient (not 1-2 MPG over Fiesta, but along of 7-8 MPG), then and only if gas prices continue above $3/gallon, this car could be sold in sufficient volumes for Ford to bother. It does sell well in Europe but over there gas is about $7/gallon. If we ever see gas prices here at European levels, it will definitely be a home run.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Do it. Do it yesterday.
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