Farewell to the obdurate Ford Mondeo
- Production of legendary saloon to cease in 2022
- Ford aiming for all-electric range by 2030
- Saloon unlikely to be replaced in Ford line-up
After 29 years of production, the death knell will sound for the dogged Ford Mondeo, a car that has dominated the roads of Britain and Europe since 1993.
For almost three decades the Mondeo has been the go-to car for families, businesses, long-distance commuters and many others. All have savoured its practicality, space, safety, comfort, build quality, reliability and economy. Five million models have been sold, with the concept of the ‘Mondeo Man’ popularised by Tony Blair as he stepped up his campaign to become Prime Minister before the 1997 General Election.
But tastes are changing rapidly. In its heyday the Mondeo enjoyed sales of 376,000 a year in the UK (1994 figures) and had been one of the best selling models in Europe too. However SUVs and prestige saloons are now the go to choice for many, and sales of the fifth generation Mondeo slipped to just 2,400 units last year.
Nearly 40% of Ford’s sales on the continent last year were SUVs or crossovers, compared to 31% the year before, a clear demonstration of a change in desires for new vehicles.
Therefore in March 2022, the last model will roll off the production line in Valencia, a sign of the sweeping changes likely to be made to the Ford vehicle line-up. The American giant recently confirmed that its entire European range of vehicles will be all-electric by 2030, and the Mondeo’s demise leaves just the Fiesta and the Focus as ‘traditional’ cars in the Ford range. Both have hybrid options.
Kieran Cahill, Ford of Europe’s Vice President of Manufacturing confirmed that the Mondeo’s demise was part of Ford’s longer term vision for electrification.
Today is another step on Ford’s electrification journey,” he commented, “providing a bridge to an all-electric passenger vehicle future, and demonstrating our continuing commitment to our manufacturing operations in Valencia where we have invested around three billion US dollars since 2011.
The Mondeo hasn’t just dominated the roads of Europe, but at one point was the dominant vehicle on the race track too. The car was a force to be reckoned with in the British Touring Car Championship in the late 1990s, and was even driven on occasion by F1 legend Nigel Mansell. The car claimed the championship in 2000, driven by Alain Menu, with Anthony Reid and Rickard Rydell completing a top-three clean-sweep.
The Ford plant in Valencia where the Mondeo is built will instead switch its focus to Ford’s electric future.
A new 2.5-litre Duratec hybrid engine is among the additions, with the powerplant set to be included in future Kuga, Galaxy and S-Max full hybrid models. The engine is the first of its kind to be built by Ford in Europe, while the existing 2.0 and 2.3 litre EcoBoost engines will continue to be produced.
An additional €5.2 million of support will go towards increased battery pack assembly at Valencia, following an initial €24 million investment last year, with Ford envisaging increased demand as it increases its electric and hybrid ranges.
Richard Randle is a motorsport PR professional working with the UK’s top racing circuits and the UK’s premier single-seater category, the BRDC British F3 Championship.