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Ford outs new concept Ka in Brazil

Concept Ka: Ford’s new-generation Ka is expected to be built in Brazil and India.

New-generation Ford Ka baby hatchback to target emerging markets from 2014

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Ford logo14 Nov 2013

By RON HAMMERTON

FORD has revealed a new-generation Ka light hatchback developed in Brazil as its front-line weapon to grow its share of fast-growing emerging markets such as South America and India.

Although it is billed as Ford’s first global sub-B segment entrant, the new Ka is not expected to be sold in western markets such as Australia and North America.

From next year, the new Ka will replace the original three-door hatch launched in 1996 and updated through numerous facelifts to the present day in Brazil.

The first-generation Ka – made in Spain – was sold in Australia from 1999 to 2003, but was discontinued here due to slow sales.

Ford Australia brand communications manager Neil McDonald told GoAuto today that a new Ka was not in the local Ford subsidiary’s product plans.

The new Ka revealed in concept form overnight in Brazil is a five-door, five-seat hatchback that the company described as a “strong precursor to an all-new global compact car from Ford”.

It indicated that the concept could appear as an all-new production Ka from 2014.

“The vehicle strategically positions the company to address global demand for sub-B compact vehicles, a segment that is projected to increase to approximately 6.2 million vehicles by 2017,” Ford said in its media release.

“Anticipated to grow by 35 per cent from 2012 to 2017, this compact vehicle segment would far outpace the industry growth rate by 12 percentage points largely on the back of surging demand from urban consumers in developing countries.”

The Ka Concept is the second vehicle developed by Ford Brazil following the EcoSport, and like the small SUV, the Ka is expected to be built in both Brazil and India to rival vehicles such as the Suzuki Alto, Mitsubishi Mirage and Nissan Micra.

Sitting below the Ford Fiesta in the model pecking order, the Ka gets a similar trapezoidal grille and other modern design elements, along with what Ford says is “a best-in-class interior design with quality craftsmanship not often found in such an attainable vehicle”. No powertrain details were released.

As well as the current Ka sold in South America, Ford of Europe has been selling a Fiat 500-based, Polish-built light hatchback under the Ka nameplate as a replacement for the original since 2008.

This version is offered with a choice of 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol and 1.3-litre diesel engines.

Like the original, the European Ka comes only with a manual gearbox – an Achilles heel that was seen as one of the main drawbacks for the Ka in Australia.

Ford Australia toyed with the idea of re-launching the Ka with this Polish-built model, but in the end decided it would not work here.

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