Two months and change after Ford Motor Company ceased production of North America’s smallest Blue Oval vehicle, Europeans are waking up to news that their tiniest offering has a date with death.
The Ka+, a name this writer can’t read without imagining a Bostonian pronouncing the word “car,” will disappear from the marketplace thanks to —what else? — fuel economy regulations that disproportionately impact small vehicles.
Motor Trend, a part of the “TEN: The Enthusiast Network” machine, grabs the marketing attention of automaker C-suites in ways that this humble blog can’t — and won’t.
Using its clout, you’d think Motor Trend would dig up the goods when given the chance to sit down with Ford’s main man in Europe, Jim Farley. You’d think wrong. Instead, Motor Trend offers up this stunning, 530-word game of interview softball.
The Ford Ka was born as a provocateur with a challenging design and hints of refinement that solidified the idea that cars are not sold by the pound. Highly successful in Europe, this recipe proved less so in the rest of the world, particularly Latin America were the car was relentlessly cheapened out over its career and became irrevocably divorced from the European car in its second generation. Now, designed and developed by Ford Brazil (with some help from the European unit), the Ka, in its third generation, sets out from the tropics in its eventual quest to become an integral part of the One Ford strategy (sales in Europe, from a UK beachhead, should commence in the fall of 2015).
The rumors have it that the new Ford Ka will be on sale as of March this year. Production of the old Ka has come to a close as the Zetec Rocam engines have also been terminated (and thus the old Brazil-market Fiesta is probably dead as well). At launch, the new Ka will come exclusively with a 1.5 Sigma engine and a 1.0, three cylinder, EcoBoost-based engine. Rumors have it that it will be the most powerful 1.0 engine in Brazil and will thus have to provide around 82 ponies.
The importance of South America to Ford Motor Company’s plans can be seen from the fact that chairman Bill Ford went to Brazil to introduce the Ka Concept, an entry level hatchback for urban consumers in Brazil and other global markets, particularly developing countries. FoMoCo says that the car was developed by Ford Brazil. Of course, the Ka Concept is a concept car in name only and when the production Ka arrives next year it should be very close to what was revealed this week. It’s also very similar to the small sedan whose spy shots TTAC featured recently that our sources tell us will be the Ka sedan.
Speaking at a ceremony at Ford’s Northeast Industrial Complex in Camaçari, Bill Ford said, “Ford has a long history in Brazil, bringing development, jobs and growth to the region. As an integral part of our global growth strategy, we are committed to bringing world-class products to Brazil and to helping the region create global vehicles for the rest of the world.”
Spy photos in Germany of a heavily camouflaged small Ford have set the Brazilian blogosphere on fire. The initial photos were published by a Malaysian site that didn’t really know what they were seeing. It turns out that it’s actually the new Ford Ka, a very important car for our market ( and the car I currently drive).
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