The Ford Laser was a compact car which was 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. The sedan, and briefly station wagon, versions were labelled Ford Meteor in Australia between 1981 and 1987.
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.
Platform and assembly-line sharing with the locally produced Mazda Familia in Japan allowed the Laser in that market 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.
In Australia and New Zealand, where Ford was seen as a local brand, the locally assembled Laser outsold its Mazda twin, the 323, especially in Australia, where the 323 was imported. However, in neighbouring Asian markets, such as Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, as well as Japan itself, the reverse was the case, although pooling resources with Mazda allowed Ford to maintain a foothold in the region. This was also the case in South America, South Africa, and the Caribbean, where the Laser was also sold, in many cases being locally assembled.
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