Ford Revs-Up for New Global Minicar

07 January 2003

Ford Motor Company in Detroit revealed Monday it is planning the launch of a new small mass-market auto designed to appeal to the European market and those in Asia and Latin America.

The move is said to aim at filling a “significant gap” in Ford’s brand portfolio (which begs the question as to what the future holds for the automaker’s Ka marque?).

Says Ford’s evp for international operations David Thursfield: “It's got to be sold in Europe but also needs to be designed for sale in emerging markets. If we’re clever we should be using this platform across the globe.”

The new car, plans for which are within six months of finalization, will be manufactured to a new global template that is flexible enough to allow for regional variations in models. “I'm not asking for more money,” insists Thursfield, explaining that the new investment will be funded from Ford’s extant development budget of $6bn-$7bn.

Ford sees its main challenge as pricing the new car for markets other than Europe: “You can't sell a $10,000 unit in emerging markets,” says Thursfield. “Pricing in Europe is much higher so the trick is how you serve both of those markets. We don't want two cars if we can help it.”

As yet no-one at Ford is talking publicly about branding or marketing – although even at this early stage such matters will figure prominently in internal discussions.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff