Ford Ka/Fiat 500 collaboration confirmed

Fiat and Ford announced today they have signed a definitive agreement to co-operate on the joint development and production of vehicles in the European small car (sub-B) segment. The two vehicles planned for development, the new Fiat 500 and a replacement for the current Ford Ka in Europe, will play a significant role in each company's European product range, confirming a report from last week. The companies also said the current Fiat Panda platform will be the basis for the development of the new cars, which will be manufactured in Fiat's existing Tychy facility in Poland, where Ford engineers will contribute to the development of their models. The vehicles will use Fiat powertrains built in Poland and Italy.

"We fully intend to replace the Ka with a similarly iconic model," said John Fleming, Ford of Europe President and CEO. "This vehicle will retain the fundamental character of the original and embody key elements of our new 'kinetic' design language." Styling for the Ka replacement will be led by Ford of Europe Executive Design Director Martin Smith.

"The strategic cooperative agreement with Ford represents another milestone in our strategy that calls for targeted alliances aimed at sharing financial and industrial resources on new products and platforms," said Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Group and Fiat Auto. "It is consistent with successful ventures, established with major partners including PSA Peugeot Citroën and Suzuki, and current discussions with the Indian group Tata Motors."

The new products will come to market in the 2007-08 period. The projected annual volume will be around 240,000 units, divided evenly.