Ford plans to launch new Ka in Europe in 2015

The Ka Concept has Ford's new global design language, which aims for a premium-like look.
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BARCELONA -- Ford Motor plans to launch a new Ka in Europe in two years based on the Ka Concept unveiled in Brazil last month.

The five-door model will replace the three-door Ka that went on sale in Europe in 2008.

The Ka's European launch is part of Ford of Europe's plans to use parent Ford Motor Co.'s global model portfolio to return to profit by 2015. Other new Ford launches in Europe will include the Mustang muscle car, Edge large SUV and EcoSport subcompact SUV.

Ford gave a European debut to the Ka Concept, alongside the new-generation Mustang and Edge, at a gathering here today of 2,500 dealers and media representatives.

“Despite the challenging market conditions, Ford continues to heavily invest in new products in Europe to position the company for success in the future,” Ford of Europe CEO Stephen Odell said. “The introduction of the Mustang, the Edge and Ka Concept are proof of our commitment to building our line-up with exciting new vehicles,” he said in a statement.

The Ka Concept is based on Ford’s global B platform that underpins the Fiesta subcompact. Designed and built in Brazil, the Ka Concept is smaller and less expensive than a Ford Fiesta. It has Ford's new global design language that aims to give Ford models a premium-like appearance.

Fiat partnership ends

The production version, tentatively due in Europe in late 2015, will replace the second-generation Ka three-door, which is based on the Fiat 500 and is built in the Italian automaker's factory in Tychy, Poland, alongside the Fiat 500.

Ka sales in Europe fell 18 percent to 40,000 in the first 10 months, according to market researchers JATO Dynamics.

Ford has sold more than 1.8 million Ka models since the vehicle was first launched in 1996. The company forecasts that global sales in the small car segment will increase by 35 percent to 6.2 million units by 2017 from 4 million in 2012.

Ford says the Ka Concept is equipped with technology usually found in larger cars such as MyFord Dock that enables occupants to store, mount and charge mobile devices such as phones and satellite navigation systems. It also has Ford’s SYNC with voice control and AppLink enables drivers to activate apps, play music and make phone calls, while keeping both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

SUV range-topper

Ford will launch sales of the Edge in Europe in 2017. It will top the automaker's SUV range, positioned above the Kuga, enabling Ford to better compete with models such as the Volkswagen Touareg, Fiat Freemont and Hyundai Santa Fe. Ford expects that SUV sales will increase by 22 per cent in Europe between 2013 and 2018.

Another global model that will be launched in Europe is the EcoSport subcompact SUV, with sales starting next summer. The EcoSport was developed in Brazil for global markets and also goes into production in India next year.

Ford will sell its latest-generation Mustang through its European dealer network strating in 2015 for the first time in the car's 50-year history. The Mustang's iconic status will be an image booster for the brand, Ford said.

You can reach Luca Ciferri at lciferri@crain.com.


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