The Ford Aspire was the product of a joint venture between Ford, Kia and Mazda during the 1990′s. Introduced in 1994, the Aspire was classed as a subcompact vehicle which was assembled in South Korea for sale in both the United States and Canada. While the vehicle was assembled in South Korea, the parts were manufactured by Mazda of Japan. The Ford Aspire was also marketed in Asia under the Kia marque and sold as the Kia Avella in Asia and the Ford Festiva in Japan and Australia.
The front-drive Aspire used a 63-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, with 5-speed manual shift or optional 3-speed automatic transmission. Automatic was optional only on base-model Aspires, and available power steering could be installed only on base-model 4-doors.
Although an entry level vehicle, the Aspire was the first car in its class to have standard dual air bags and otional four-wheel Anti-lock brakes.
The Aspire was available as a three-door or five-door hatchback, both came in base-level trim, and the 2-door could be ordered in upscale SE guise, adding fog lamps, a rear spoiler, and different seats and interior trim.
The Aspire was only produced from 1994 to 1997 and was replaced by the Kia Rio in the Kia line up. Ford has yet to replace the Aspire in its line up, although a plan is in the works to introduce the Ford Fiesta in 2010 as its replacement.