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Ford CEO Mulally: Ka May Come Stateside

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2009 Ford Ka

2009 Ford Ka

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In a possible stroke of genius where small cars are concerned, one of the Detroit's Big Three is seriously considering bringing a small, Europe-only mini car to market in the United States. Ford CEO Alan Mulally's shift was confirmed by Detroit News, who said that "increased demand for small cars has led the automaker to revisit its decision not to bring the tiny European Ka model to the United States."

The new Ka (above) was just released at the Paris Auto Show last week. Detroit Free Press points out that "Ka is far smaller than the Focus, which is Dearborn-based Ford's only U.S. compact car." The Ka is similar in size to Daimler AG's Smaft fortwo mini car, making it even smaller than vehicles like Toyota's Yaris and Honda's Fit. Whether or not American consumers are ready to buy mini cars in numbers large enough to make an American Ka a worthwhile investment is up for debate. This year's economic downturn and gas price fluctuations have boosted Ford Focus sales some 24 percent.

In 2010, Ford also plans U.S. sales of its new global sub-compact, the Fiesta, and the superior European version of its popular Ford Focus.--Colin Mathews
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Comments (4)
  1. The KA is a silly niche vehicle that will never sell the 40,000 and 50,000 units per month needed for huge profitability. It has been on sale in Europe for a decade now, it is silly and impractical, and has the same price with vehicles that have almost TWICE the space and passenger capacity and the same performance. It has sold very poorly there, and it will sell even more poorly here. But what else could you expect from a CLUELESS FAILURE like MULALLY? The $50 million a year "savior" from Boeing? Whose idea of a "HOME RUN" thsat FORD DESPERATELY needs is to KEEP the OLD poor Focus and give it a lame facelift, INSTEAD of bringing here the SECOND GENERATION Focus which is a SMASH HIT in Europe, AND all the FORD SMALL CAR DIESELS THEY SELL MILLIONS OF IN EUROPE EVERY YEAR?
     
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  2. The Ka is definitely a niche vehicle, as are pretty much all vehicles now. A smart company fills as many niches as possible. North America is waking up to the idea of very small cars. Ford is wise to make sure they have some players in these niches, rather than simpley conceding the market to Toyota and Honda. I agree that they should also bring the diesel versions here too, rather than conceding that market to VW.
     
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  3. I agree with Ed in the fact that the Ka is a niche vehicle and more importantly that the Mulally approach to fixing Ford is not disciplined and focused as must be. However it is because Ford, GM and Chrysler completely eliminated their niche products (except Viper but that's gone or the Kappa GMs) that they are now in bad shape. They can't ramp up on product wanted fast enough. So there is room for a 40-50K niche market even at low profitability not to completely loose that part of the market (the same is true of full size trucks and decent minivans).
     
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  4. OK more proof every day that detroit don't get it. Keep the old Focus rather than the new one, and instead intro this too small car (Ka). The Fiesta is a much better fit. Get your act in gear, prioritise the next focus and make sure you sell it in the US. Ka reminds of those tiny shoes you see made for babies, all show but not really designed to be used.
     
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