Once bit­ten, twice shy

Ford is re­fus­ing to give Ka a sec­ond chance, write PAUL GOVER and NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

AFIRST-UP fail­ure has vir­tu­ally ended any chance of a sec­ond baby Ka for Aus­tralia. The tiny new city Ford has just been un­veiled in Europe, ahead of sales from a Pol­ish fac­tory in the sec­ond half of the year, but even its im­pres­sive style has had no ef­fect at Broad­mead­ows.

Ford Aus­tralia still re­mem­bers the fail­ure of the orig­i­nal Ka, which was too small and cost too much in the 1990s, and says — even though ev­ery­one from Hyundai to Toy­ota is look­ing to go smaller — there is un­likely to be a place for the new car here.

‘‘Fi­esta re­mains our light-car en­try and we have no plans to change that in the fore­see­able fu­ture,’’ Ford spokes­woman Sinead McAlary says.

‘‘In fact, we’re look­ing for­ward to the launch of the new Fi­esta in the months ahead.’’

The new Ka comes 12 years af­ter the orig­i­nal, which strug­gled with ev­ery­thing in­clud­ing the pro­nun­ci­a­tion of its ‘‘car’’ name.

It was sold in Aus­tralia for four years, from 1999 to 2003, but was far too costly at $16,600 at a time when Korean im­ports were $13,990 drive­away. It was even­tu­ally suc­ceeded by Ford’s own Korean con­tender, the Fes­tiva.

But Ford Aus­tralia then switched its small-car strat­egy to Europe and took on the Fi­esta and Fo­cus, which are both bril­liant cars de­spite sales that could be a lot bet­ter.

Ford has just re­vealed a glitzy Fi­esta, as well as a high­per­for­mance Fo­cus RS, which is be­ing con­sid­ered for Aus­tralia.

The new Ka is me­chan­i­cally twinned to the equally-as-cute Fiat 500 and Fiat Panda and has a range of en­gines in­clud­ing a 1.2-litre petrol four-cylin­der and a 1.3-litre Mul­ti­jet tur­bod­iesel.

A hot KA ST is tipped for the fu­ture with a 112kW turbo mo­tor and low­ered, sports-tuned chas­sis.

Full de­tails of the Ka will be re­vealed at the Paris Mo­tor Show in Oc­to­ber.

Euro­pean launch: the baby of the Ford fleet, the Ka, comes 12 years af­ter the orig­i­nal.

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