Launching not one but two new small car ranges this year could play a major role in helping Ford ride the recession, believes Ford of Europe chairman John Fleming.
The new Ka took a well-received bow at Paris, joining the new Fiesta in a Ford range that has been completely renewed since 2006. Fleming says market conditions right now are “terrible”, with UK September sales running about one-third down on 2007. “Having two new small cars will certainly help, but it’s still very tough out there,” he says.
The new Ka is built at Fiat’s plant at Tychy in Poland, alongside the Fiat 500, with which it shares its platform. Fiat’s designers have done an impressive job in disguising the Ka’s Fiat origins – indeed, it shares no exterior panels with the retro Fiat minicar.
The second generation Ka gains a diesel for the first time – a 1.3-litre 75bhp Duratorq unit, as well as a 1.2-litre 69bhp Duratec petrol unit. Both engines give CO2 emissions of below 120g/km.
The Ka’s cheeky looks and youthful appeal has already resulted in a number of ‘specials’ being developed. First up is a special gold-painted edition ‘Bond Ka’ to tie in with the car’s appearance in the soon-to-be-released James Bond filmm’Quantum of Solace’. Indeed, new ‘Bond girl’ actress Olga Kurylenko put in an appearance at the launch party for the new Ka on the eve of the show.
Ford also sponsors the Champions League, and a trio of football-themed Kas with special sporty graphics and interiors were also on show on the company’s Paris stand.
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