The Ford Ka subcompact city car could return to Australia as part of Ford's import-only future beyond late 2016.
The Ka will go on sale in Europe in 2015 and Ford Australia insiders have indicated to CarAdvice the Ka is being studied closely for this market.
One source says Ford needs a model locally to sit below the Fiesta city car to compete below the $15,000 mark, with the likes of the Mitsubishi Mirage, Nissan Micra, Volkswagen Up!, and more cheap cars likely to emerge from China.
With profit margins notoriously slim on the smallest models on the market, the chances of the Ford Ka coming to Australia will rest on whether the car will be built in a country such as Thailand where Ford Oz can benefit from a free trade agreement (as it does with the likes of Fiesta, Focus and Ranger).
The original Ka debuted in Europe in 1996 was sold between 1999 and 2002 in Australia with minimal success, though the market has changed markedly since that period when locally built large cars still dominated.
Globally, Ford is predicting entry-level city cars such as the Ka to grow 35 per cent to 6.2 million vehicles by 2017.
The new Ford Ka is a five-door model unlike its three-door predecessors – including the second-gen twinned with the Fiat 500 – and features the company’s latest global design language. It looks clearly related to models such as the Fiesta and Focus, and is understood to be based on the Fiesta’s platform.
Inside, it features a central docking station for smartphones and includes Ford’s Sync connectivity system.
The Ka would form one of the eleven passenger cars, SUVs and light commercial vehicles Ford Australia has confirmed it will offer from 2017.