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The Ford Ka is a small car manufactured by the American manufacturer, Ford Motor Company from 1996 to 2016, as a city car, and from 2014 onwards as a subcompact car. The first two generations have a three-door hatchback body style, with the first generation also having a two-door convertible version that was marketed as the StreetKA, alongside a sporty hatch version, known as the SportKA. There is also the Ford Ka NOW. The third generation is produced as a five-door hatchback and as a four-door sedan. The name Ka has a number of possible pronunciations.
For example, with a long or short “a”, or with the letters pronounced separately. Ford’s press office has used all three. The car was introduced on 11 September 1996 as a small and low-cost addition to the Ford range. It was based on the Mark IV Ford Fiesta platform, but with a completely different exterior design. The design borrowed a lot from Ghia’s “Saetta” show car, a roadster designed by Filippo Sapino. When the Ka was first introduced to the public it provoked mixed reactions, due to its original and striking New Edge design, overseen by Jack Telnack and executed by Claude Lobo.
Under Richard Parry-Jones’ supervision, the suspension and steering settings allowed for hard cornering and high levels of grip, providing strong handling characteristics. For the first three years of production, all models had black plastic bumpers to minimise parking damage to paintwork in city environments. These bumpers contained a stabiliser to prevent UV degradation which made them unsuitable for painting because the paint would not adhere properly. The Ka has proved highly profitable for Ford despite its low selling price, largely due to low development costs.
In 2006, Ford sold 17,000 examples of the Ka model per year in the United Kingdom. As with other Ford models, insufficient anti-corrosion treatment during manufacture and the use of non-galvanised steel results in premature surface and structural corrosion becoming established on cars used in more northern, damp climates. In Australia, the Ka was introduced in October 1999 and was on the market there until 2002. This was partly due to the lack of an automatic transmission, which is preferred by a large proportion of Australian car buyers.