A brief history of the Ford Ka

From the moment of its original launch over 20 years ago, everyone took notice of the Ford Ka. With its unique style and city-wise practicality, the Ka quickly became a huge seller, disappearing not just from UK Ford garages but dealerships around the world. With this iconic model now entering its third generation, we take a look at the ideas which first gave rise to the Ka, and how it evolved over the next two decades.

A brief history of the Ford Ka

The ideas behind the ka

  • The Ka was designed as the ultimate low cost car which would not compromise on quality.
  • It was planned with city driving in mind and is regarded as a highly practical vehicle.
  • The Ka was also intended to be easy to maintain and repair – and so it has proved!
  • Its eye-catching, innovative design divided critics but became a huge hit with drivers.

First generation

  • The first generation of the Ka was launched in 1996.
  • The first models featured plastic bumpers, which were designed to reduce damage typically picked up during city driving and parking in tight spots.
  • The StreetKa and SportKa variations were introduced in 2003 – the latter was marketed as the original Ka’s ‘evil twin’.
  • A Ford Ka rally championship was launched in 1998, whilst a special Rally Ka was also built by Ford Motorsport.

Second generation

  • The second generation launched in 2009.
  • It was built in partnership with Fiat at their factory in Poland.
  • It had a unique debut, featuring in the 2008 James Bond film Quantum of Solace.
  • It was also available in three Ford Individual personalisation packages – Tattoo, Grand Prix and Digital (the latter was replaced with Metal in 2011).

Third generation

  • The third and current generation launched earlier in 2016.
  • It was initially only available in Brazil.
  • For the first time, a five-door version was made available.
  • The latest Ka features a raft of new tech, such as the Ford MyKey, MyDock and SYNC systems, as well as cruise control, climate control and keyless entry.

Random facts

  • An AutoTrader article confirms that the Ford Ka should be pronounced ‘ca’, as in ‘cat’.
  • In several other countries, where it is available, the Ka is known as the 'Figo'.
  • The Ka was named as the 'Small Car of the Decade' by CAP in 2010.

Image Credit: Tom Williams