Ford Laser: Wikis


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Ford Laser
MHV Ford KH Laser GL 1992-1995 01.jpg1991–1994 Ford KH Laser GL hatchback.
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Production 1980-2003
Predecessor Ford Escort
Successor Ford Focus
Class Compact
Related Ford Capri
Ford Escort (North America)
Ford Meteor
Mazda 323
Mercury Tracer

Ford Lynx redirects here, for the Lynx armoured car built by Ford Canada, see Daimler Dingo

The Ford Laser is a compact car sold by Ford in Asia, Oceania, and parts of South America, and Africa. It has generally been available as a sedan or hatchback, although convertible, wagon and pick-up versions have also been available in different markets.


Relationship to Mazda 323

The Ford Laser was a restyled version of the Familia/323 models produced by Mazda in Japan from 1980 onwards. (Ford had acquired a 25% stake in Mazda in 1979.)

In Australia and New Zealand where Ford was seen as a 'local' brand, the Laser outsold its Mazda twin, but in neighbouring Asian countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, as well as Japan itself, the reverse was the case. However, pooling resources with Mazda allowed Ford to maintain a foothold in the region. This was also the case in South America, Africa, and the Caribbean, where the Laser was also sold, in many cases being locally assembled.



1981–1983 Ford Laser (KA) GL 5-door hatchback.1983–1985 Ford Laser (Kb) GL 5-door hatchback.
Production 1980-1985
Body style(s) 3-door hatchback
4-door sedan
5-door hatchback
Engine(s) 1.3 L E3 I4
1.5 L E5 I4
1.5 L E5T I4

KA 1981-1983, KB 1983-1985

Engine specifications:

  • Mazda E1, 41 kW (55 hp) 1.1 L Carb 8V SOHC (‘L’ and ‘GL’ New Zealand models)
  • Mazda E3, 27 ft 9 in (8.46 m)49 kW 1.3 L Carb 8V SOHC (‘L’ and ‘GL’ models)
  • Mazda E5, 54 kW (72 hp) 1.5 L Carb 8V SOHC (‘L’, ‘GL’ and ‘GHIA’ models)
  • Mazda E5, 59 kW (79 hp) 1.5 L Twin Carb 8V SOHC (‘Sports’ models)
  • Mazda E5T, 78 kW (105 hp) 1.5 L Carb 8V SOHC Turbo (limited edition ‘Turbo’ models)
  • Mazda E5T, 85 kW (114 hp) 1.5 L EFI 8V SOHC Turbo (‘Turbo’ Japan models)


Production 1985–1990
Body style(s) 2-door convertible
3-door hatchback
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
5-door hatchback
Engine(s) 1.3 L E3 I4
1.6 L B6 I4
1.6 L B6T I4
1985 Ford KC Laser TX3 hatchback.
1987-1990 Ford KE Laser GL hatchback.
1990–1994 Ford KE Laser GL station wagon.

Engine specifications:

  • Mazda E3, 49 kW (66 hp) 1.3 L Carb 8V SOHC (‘L’ and ‘GL’ models)
  • Mazda E5T, 85 kW (114 hp) 1.5 L EFI 8V SOHC Turbo (‘Cabriolet’ Japan models)
  • Mazda B6, 53 kW (71 hp) 1.6 L Carb 8V SOHC (‘GL’ and ‘GHIA’ models)
  • Mazda B6, 62 kW (83 hp) 1.6 L EFI 16V SOHC (option on ‘GHIA’ models and standard on ‘TX3’ models)
  • Mazda B6T, 100 kW (130 hp) 1.6 L EFI 16V DOHC Turbo (‘TX3 Turbo’ and ‘Turbo 4WD’ models)


1993 KF Ford Laser S, 3-door Hatchback
Production 1990-1995
Body style(s) 3-door hatchback
4-door sedan
4-door station wagon
5-door hatchback


A modified 1990 Ford KF Laser 5-door Hatchback.

Engine specifications:

  • Mazda B3, 47 kW (63 hp) 1.3 L Carb 16V SOHC ('XL')
  • Mazda B6-2E, 64 kW (86 hp) 1.6 L Carb 16V SOHC ( ‘L’, ‘XL’, ‘GL’, ‘Horizon’, 'Livewire' and ‘Indy’ models)
  • Mazda BP SOHC aka B8, 76 kW (102 hp) 1.8 L F/I 16V SOHC (‘GHIA’, ‘S’ and ‘GLi’ models)
  • Mazda BP DOHC, 92 kW (123 hp) 1.8 L F/I 16V DOHC (‘TX3 non-turbo’ models)
  • Mazda BPT, 117 kW (157 hp) 1.8 L F/I 16V DOHC Turbo (‘TX3 Turbo’ and ‘Turbo 4WD’ models)


1996-1997 Ford Laser (KJ II (KL)) Liata 5-door hatchback.
Production 1994-1998
Body style(s) 4-door sedan
3-door hatchback
5-door hatchback
Engine(s) 1.8 L DOHC
1.6 L DOHC

The new KJ Laser was introduced in 1994, and was the first Laser to be fully imported from Japan after Ford Australia decided to close their Homebush plant. The KJ Laser represented a major change in design; looking very different to the previous KH model. However the KJ proved unsuccessful and was disappointing in sales, mainly because of the smaller Festiva and other Korean models which many buyers flocked to.

Engine Specifications:

  • Mazda B6, 80kW, 1.6L, 16V, DOHC ('LXi' models)
  • Mazda BP, 92kW, 1.8L, 16V, DOHC ('GLXi' and some 'LXi' models)


Ford Laser.
Production 1999-2003
Body style(s) 4-door sedan
5-door hatchback
Engine(s) 1.8 L
2.0 L
1.6 L
Ford Laser.
  • Mazda 1.8 L FP-DE DOHC I4 (‘GHIA’, ‘S’ and ‘GLi’ models)
  • Mazda 2.0 L FS, 97 kW (130 hp) and 183 N·m (135 ft·lbf)
  • Mazda 2.0 L FS-ZE (2001 Sport 20)
  • 1.6 L ZM-DE 72 kW (97 hp) and 145 N·m (107 ft·lbf)


The Ford Laser was sold in several markets over the vehicles lifespan.


Japanese-market 1985 Laser TX3 (DOHC turbo full-time 4WD model)

Platform and assembly-line sharing with the locally produced Mazda Familia allowed the Laser to be offered with a plethora of engine, paint and trim configurations not available anywhere else in the world. This was most notably evident during the 1980s with multiple turbocharged variants, 'unique' bodyshells such as the Cabriolet, and full-time 4WD models all available years before their debuts in other markets (and in some cases, never making it offshore at all).

Along with the Japanese produced Ford Telstar and Ford Festiva the Laser was sold at special 'Autorama' dealerships.

The first Lasers went on sale in late 1982 as the BA series, which was identical to the Australian KB Laser. Fuel-injection and a 115PS turbocharged model were added in July 1983; these variants were never offered for sale outside of Japan.

January 1985 saw the advent of the BF series Laser (KC/KE in other markets). For the first time a Diesel version was offered, as well as a factory 2-door cabriolet, a DOHC 16-valve Sport version, and a potent 140PS DOHC turbo model with full-time 4WD drivetrain (identical to the contemporary Mazda Familia BFMR). This added up to an extremely convoluted product line, which was later streamlined in 1987 with a mid-life model refresh (KE series in other markets).

The model refresh dropped E-series engines in favour of all-new B-series equivalents, poorer-selling variants were discontinued, and minor changes were made to exterior styling and interior trim.

The BG series of 1989-1994 (KF/KH) went on to be the most popular Laser sold in Japan, with the new "coupe" (liftback) version an instant success. Again, a DOHC turbo model with full-time 4WD was offered as a companion car to the Mazda Familia GT-X, now producing 180PS from an increased displacement of 1.8 litres.

Unfortunately, all sporting models were discontinued when the FG (KJ/KL) model was released in 1995 in the wake of poor sales and financial returns as Mazda scaled back operations and sought to rearrange market focus. As a result the Laser was renamed Lidea and popularity waned further towards the end of the 1990s, until production of the final BJ (KN/KQ) model ceased at the end of 2002, to be replaced by the imported Ford Focus.


The Laser replaced the rear-wheel-drive Escort in Australia in 1981, proving hugely popular as a hatchback in both 3 door and 5 door variety's, as well as the sedan known as the Meteor. Ford Australia marketed them as separate vehicles, providing a worthy rival to Japanese models like the Toyota Corolla; the Meteor nameplate died in Australia when the KE sedan was launched in 1987, but survived in South Africa until 1995.

Local production of the Laser in Australia ceased in 1995 when Ford closed its plant in Homebush in Sydney, and imported the model from Japan. The Laser was finally replaced by the Focus in 2002.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the Laser was sold as both a hatchback and sedan, and was later assembled alongside the Mazda 323 at the Vehicle Assemblers of New Zealand (VANZ) plant in Wiri, Auckland in a joint venture between Ford New Zealand and Mazda. The KC/KE Laser wagon was also assembled locally, alongside its Mazda 323 equivalent, until 1996. When the plant closed in 1997, Ford dropped the Laser and introduced the Ford Escort hatchback and sedan, having already introduced the Escort wagon. It later reintroduced the Laser in 1999, and was not replaced by the Focus until 2003.

South Africa

The Laser was introduced in South Africa in 1986, as a hatchback, with the sedan version being sold as the Meteor. Replacing the Ford Escort, it was produced alongside the Mazda 323 by Samcor. The Laser was already sold in Zimbabwe, where the previous generation model had been introduced in 1981. The KC/KE Laser and Meteor remained in production in South Africa until 1995, when the Escort was reintroduced. However, Ford introduced an entry-level model called the Tonic, a rebadged version of the last version of KF hatchack Mazda 323 (VI gen), which was sold until 2003.

North America

The second generation of the American Ford Escort was a Laser with some cosmetic changes.

In 1987, a version of the Laser built in Mexico was exported to the USA, where it was known as the Mercury Tracer. In Canada, Ford opted to import Mercury Tracer from Taiwan instead. The Laser was the basis of later Escort models sold in North America, which is not to be confused with the model of the same name sold in Europe. In 1991, the American Ford Escort was replaced by a version of the Laser/323, although the Escort name was retained. The Escort Wagon seen in North America during that generation was unique to that continent and was not part of the Laser ranges elsewhere.

Latin America and Caribbean

The Ford Laser was also assembled and sold in some countries in Latin America, such as Colombia and Venezuela, and was sold in right hand drive markets in the Caribbean such as Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.


As well as being produced in Japan, the Laser was also assembled in Malaysia and Indonesia (in right hand drive). It was also assembled in left hand drive markets like Taiwan and the Philippines. In Taiwan, (where it was assembled by local joint venture Ford Lio Ho), the Laser sedan was replaced by the Tierra, with distinct styling. Updated versions of this model have also been sold in Thailand as the Laser Tierra, while in Malaysia, the Laser was renamed the Lynx. In Indonesia, it was used by local taxi companies before being replaced by the Toyota Soluna and the Toyota Vios.[citation needed]


The 1981 Laser was also sold in Cyprus, being similar to the Australian model.


The Laser has now been replaced in most markets around the world by the European-sourced Focus, designated as one of Ford's 'world cars'. The Mazda 323's replacement, the Mazda3, is also based on the same platform as the new model Focus, meaning that both companies' products in this market segment will use the same platform around the world.

2005 Ford Laser Lynx RS

Updated versions of the Laser known as the Laser, Laser Tierra, Laser Lynx, Laser Lynx RS, Laser RS, and Tierra were marketed in Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Taiwan, respectively, but eventually replaced by the Focus.

See also

External links

Simple English

The Ford Laser was an automobile sold by Ford Motor Company between 1981 and 1999. It was offered in four bodystyles; a three-door hatchback, five-door hatchback, four-door saloon and five-door estate.

This was primarily sold in the Oceania region of the world. However, some were sold in Latin America, and these were versions of the Mazda 323 sold under the Ford Laser name.


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