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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.autoblog.com/2008/11/03/ford-ceo-wants-to-bring-ka-to-u-s/

Ford has been chatting with Fiat about building the Fiat 500 and the Ford Ka alongside each other in a North American plant, and it came out today that Mulally wants the Ka to be sold in the US, via AutoNews.

The issue is, he also wants to find a way to sell these cars in the US at a profit, and to me, a joint venture with Fiat seems to be the answer. Fiat 500s would be sold at premium prices, which could cover a lot of the factory's fixed costs.

Ka would obviously be a low volume niche vehicle for Ford, selling mainly to city folk looking for a high-quality urban runabout. It could also serve as an entry point and image-builder for the Ford brand among these urban sophisticates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
BTW... this is it.



Tiny... smaller than Fiesta or Aveo... think Smart Car, plus a bit. Big folks need not apply... it seats four people... four EUROPEAN-sized people.
 

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Wait a minute there Mulaly! There is a LOT more to product than "I want that!" decision!" making. I strongly believe CEOs need to distance themselves from the product end of their business, they should focus on making sure those departments achieve their objectives and operate profitably. I think renaming 500 to Taurus was a bad Mulally based decision for example. Unless there is a market for Ka here, there is no reason to bring on a potential niche failure that costs money and reputations. God I'm conservative! (not politically mind you).
 

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Eh, It would be a good image builder for the Brand but I would only bring it over if it makes sense financially because they sure are not going to sell a whole lot of them I wouldn't think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The Ka would be a pure gravy move.

The Ka is sold in Mexico and every country south, so they'll be manufacturing it in North America ANYWAY. The only cost would be federalizing it (cost shared with Fiat, which is federalizing the 500 anyway).

Incremental cost analysis... Ka seems like a winning proposition, even if sales are low.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Eh, It would be a good image builder for the Brand but I would only bring it over if it makes sense financially because they sure are not going to sell a whole lot of them I wouldn't think.
No... sales WOULD be extremely low. It'd be a miracle if they moved 25,000, even with the low price.

It's a niche car for city dwellers and people who don't need or want the space.

Ka ST.... turbo.... hmmmmmmmm...
 

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I bought gas at $1.90 this morning which means the Ka is doomed.
People have short memories.
The minute homedebtors can HELOC a little equity from their houses again, the big battlewagons will return.
 

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I bought gas at $1.90 this morning which means the Ka is doomed.
People have short memories.
The minute homedebtors can HELOC a little equity from their houses again, the big battlewagons will return.
word. but the PR value of selling the Ka here for the urban setters who whine and gripe a lot would be worth the expenditure. I wouldn't expect to see more than 20-30k sales of the Ka here, especially with a new Focus and Fiesta also on the show floor.
 

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BTW... this is it.



Tiny... smaller than Fiesta or Aveo... think Smart Car, plus a bit. Big folks need not apply... it seats four people... four EUROPEAN-sized people.
Speaking as an Anglo-European descended male...are you implying that Europeans are smaller than Americans? Or, were you implying that we, as a Nation, have gotten a little 'tubby'?:D
 

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The Ka would be a pure gravy move.

The Ka is sold in Mexico and every country south, so they'll be manufacturing it in North America ANYWAY. The only cost would be federalizing it (cost shared with Fiat, which is federalizing the 500 anyway).

Incremental cost analysis... Ka seems like a winning proposition, even if sales are low.
Do you know how much federalizing costs? That always seems to be the argument against bringing a car thats already on sale elsewhere to the US.

To me it makes sense to bring some in the US and see how it does. It certainly looks better than the SmartCar even if it is bigger. Like you said any sales would be gravy.
 

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I'd rather have a Fiesta and still be able to fit things inside, including myself. You don't get much of a MPG advantage or any kind of performance advantage, it's really only better interms of ease of parking on tight city streets. Though if you can amoritize the federalization costs with Fiat, there is no reason not to jump into this segment.
 

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Do you know how much federalizing costs? That always seems to be the argument against bringing a car thats already on sale elsewhere to the US.

To me it makes sense to bring some in the US and see how it does. It certainly looks better than the SmartCar even if it is bigger. Like you said any sales would be gravy.
federalizing costs vary from model to model - depending how much needs to be done .. soemtimes a car needs only minor things - 5mph bumpers, amber side reflectors, .2increments on FM tuning, and 12hr clock ... etc .. little things ...

sometimes it needs so much it makes no sense ...

the point wesonet is making is that Fiat has been looking for a way to sell and build the 500 in the US - Ford can capitalize on that - since the 500 and the Ka are 100% identical under the skin - so the 2 models can share the federalizing costs, Ford can add 2 products to a US plant, and maybe even offer to build Fiat's Alfa's in one of its plants as well (or simply sell one of its plants to Fiat, with the understanding that the Ka will be also produced there).

It is a perfect case of synergy - the goals of these 2 companies align very well for the moment, and Ford is making sure Fiat knows that and understands that Ford can cut them a deal if they cooperate.

As for Borg's comments. I am sure Ford has done enough legroom to know that there is A) market for this car and/or B) that there is marketing value for the brand image in offering the Ka in the US.

Ford is still perceived as a truck and Mustang brand .. having a full and diverse lineup of small cars, all meeting or beating competition is the ONLY way to increase the sales of the cars Ford really cares about - Taurus, Fusion, and Focus. Anything smaller than that is primarily here for marketing - so Ford is not blamed for "ignoring FE cars," "ignoring progressive buyers," etc.

Finally, this class of cars is not here yet, but it is _very_ likely Toyota WILL enter the segment into US before 2011 - if Ford can be right on their heels, or even beat them to the punch, they have another PR value built in ... At this point, Ford has a lot of legwork to be done to transform their image. Gas might be at $2 NOW - but it will be back at $4 by the summer - and while trucks and SUV's will rebound, Ford believes that in the long run, it cannot survive without an image of a modern builder of high value, efficient, fun to drive cars of all sizes. and the Fiesta, and Ka are just cogs in the machine of getting to that image.
Igor
 

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This seems like this is one of those, everyone talks about it, but when it comes purchase time, they don't buy it.

Is the Fit or the Yaris one of the top three selling vehicles in the US this year?
 

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I'd rather have a Fiesta and still be able to fit things inside, including myself. You don't get much of a MPG advantage or any kind of performance advantage, it's really only better interms of ease of parking on tight city streets. Though if you can amoritize the federalization costs with Fiat, there is no reason not to jump into this segment.
exactly, plus it is cheaper to buy - this would be a $8k - $10k car at base - another $2k below the Fiesta. So you are capturing people who need ANY car - just make it cheap and new.

Igor
 

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This seems like this is one of those, everyone talks about it, but when it comes purchase time, they don't buy it.

Is the Fit or the Yaris one of the top three selling vehicles in the US this year?
no but they contribute to Honda's and Toyota's image of building the most efficient cars - which lifts the sales of Corolla and Camry. Also there are markets - like North East where the B-cars are actually VERY populous .. take a walk down near-downtown gentrified residential districts in Philly (I used to live in one of those) - it is all C- and B- cars with random mix of older bigger cars - but virtually all late model cars are C- or B- segment.

So no on the US scale the B- segment is not dominating - but there are many markets where it is a big player.

igor
 
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