American consumers have become a bit spoiled in terms of new cars, demanding high-tech features like touchscreen navigation from even the most economy-minded automobiles. But in developing markets like Brazil, customers are just happy to have a vehicle with four wheels, and the new Ford Ka Concept is a commitment to B-segment cars from the Blue Oval.
Borrowing its name from the Europe-only city car that is likely to be discontinued soon, the Ford Ka will replace the Ford Figo in markets like Brazil and Southeast Asia, replacing a car that is based on a 20-year old Fiesta design. With the B-segment of economy-minded automobiles expected to grow some 35% in the next 5 years, Ford needs to make its presence known with a more-modern competitor.
So should we be looking forward to the Ford Ka here in America? Unlikely, at least for now. The SmartCar-sized Ka isn’t likely to find much of a following here in America, and with SmartCar sales still stumbling, there isn’t exactly a compelling argument to bring such a cheap and limited-used vehicle to a mature market like America. But for developing markets, Ford is touting a best-in-class interior with superior craftsmanship compared to competitors. Engine choices aren’t mentioned, though the 1.0-liter Ecoboost motor is likely to be the range-topper, with more anemic naturally-aspirated engines offered as the standard motivation.
While the Ford Ka was pretty popular in Europe, what with its outrageous gas prices, the Ford Fiesta seems to be as small a car as Americans are willing to buy, at least for now. For places like Europe and developing nations where fuel efficiency and overall value reign supreme, the Ka makes sense. Should another gas price spike strike soon though, Ford could reconsider its decision to keep the Ka an overseas-only vehicle…so long as it can meet those pesky American safety and efficiency standards.