Once bitten, twice shy
Ford is refusing to give Ka a second chance, write PAUL GOVER and NEIL McDONALD
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.