Ford's Mulally Still Likes Ka for U.S.--Detroit Auto Show

Posted by: David Kiley on January 12, 2009

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Ford CEO Alan Mulally says he still likes the tiny European Ka for the U.S. portfolio. His senior staff isn’t so sure. Global product chief Derrick Kuzak and chief marketing officer James Farley get suspiciously quiet, and you can almost see their eyes roll when the subject comes up. Kuzak even smirks over it.

The Ka is a bit of a cause with Mulally. But he says he defers to Kuzak on such things in the end. However, let’s not forget, Mulally pretty much brought the Taurus back to life by his sheer will.

Ford insiders say there is no business case for Federalizing the Ka for U.S. safety and emissions, and pricing it for profit in the U.S. after its gets exported from Europe.

Reader Comments

James

January 12, 2009 2:40 PM

Kuzak and Farley should study recent Ford history. When Jacques Nasser was president, he brought over the first Ka to study and even let some journalists test-drive it. Nasser said they were thinking of bringing it over --instead, as we all know, he focused Ford's product development resources on SUVs and trucks and let the car side of the business get stale. Nasser let others build the small cars that only now Ford is scrambling to offer.

One could argue that the Fiesta is as small a car as people would accept, but I have seen more than a few Smart cars on the road. One could also argue that the Ka would not be profitable, and this very well may be true, but isn't that why these guys go to Harvard Bus. School? To learn how to get stuff done?

fanontheshoulder

January 13, 2009 4:52 PM

Ford should forget the conventional wisdom which has led to 'old economy' bad decisions. They need the Ka and more small vehicles like it to be where the consumer is going. Here's to hoping that Mullaly has the will to make this one happen too.

FordsFuture

January 19, 2009 8:32 AM

Definitely count me amongst the Ka converts.

I agree with an earlier poster that Ford is hesitant to bring the KA stateside on old assumptions.

Consumers want a small, fuel efficient car that's reliable and sexy. That's why the mini cooper, SMART and Yaris' of the world have been doing well.

The key difference is that now - they want that car to be American. I would gladly buy a Ford Ka today in large part to support an American car company that's doing something right - building a small, fun-looking, fuel-efficient "it" car.

Ford - Ka me.

MikeCanada

January 20, 2009 5:52 PM

The Ka would do very well in the Canadian market, but I think it's maybe too small for the American market.

AlexinDC

January 21, 2009 3:53 PM

In a word: wow.

Wow, the Ford Ka looks great.
Wow, the reviews in Europe are great.
Wow, an American company is behind it.
Wow, I can't believe Ford even has to debate whether to release this in the USA.

I do hope... wish... pray... that Ford decides to "wow" American car owners and makes this available here. And soon.

John from Concord

January 25, 2009 8:07 AM

A couple of points: First, the European reviews on the Ka aren't all that great -- see Clarkson in today's Times, and his take is typical. It's a Fiat 500 with a better suspension and less cuteness, if that means anything to you. Second, Ford's already bringing some seriously small cars over -- the (fantastic) Fiesta is Yaris-sized, smaller than a Focus and smaller than anything Ford has offered here in years. The Ka is one size smaller still, more like a four-seat Smart. I'm not quite sure that Americans are ready for city cars as anything more than a curiosity.

kiee1

April 15, 2009 11:18 PM

for all who think about Ford KAs its the price why not build them in the USA labor unions are conceeding empty ford plants are A huge exspense .Why not build KAS here as A Engineer I know the fiat motor can be cast here whitin 3 months the frame same timetable we can retoll quickly as all the wars have proved . To bad ford management so short sighted Its the price stupid an american made KA might cost nine thousand new a new f 150 about 25 thousand . we have a new generation of car buyers who can afford a new KA but not A 25 thousand dollar contour ford get it togather a lot of kas or a few high breds , fords roots modle tee make alot of them and make a car most can affrd * Hennry Ford* It kinda makes sense again

Dan loomis

August 9, 2009 12:00 PM

"Oh My DOGS! Let me get this straight.. Former U.S. public officials took our tax money from TARP in a windfall and used it to bring Coda Chinese cars to the United States to compete with the American auto industry and put Americans out of work after they (The Goldman Sachs insiders) helped cause the American Recession!!! What!!!!???"

(Repost Please- We need a federal investigation on this)

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