The Ford Mondeo has reached the end of the road, the company announced today.
The saloon car that became a byword for ‘Mondeo Man’ – the middle-ground voter that could swing elections – has been killed off by the rise in popularity of sports utility vehicles and the push towards electrification, the manufacturer has confirmed today.
It is to be ‘phased out’ by March next year. The firm blamed ‘changing fashions’ for the demise of the once popular model.
Mondeo Man to be killed off: Ford has confirmed the 29-year run for the once-popular family car will end next year when Mondeo production is halted for good
Ford has already announced it is moving towards an all-electric future in Britain and Continental Europe, selling only new plug-in hybrids from 2026 and with an intention to have a range of electric-only models by 2030.
One of the first combustion engine cars to get the chop as it looks to embark on a greener future is the iconic Mondeo.
The company said in a statement on Thursday: ‘As Ford moves to an all-electric passenger vehicle future, European consumer preferences continue to change.
‘In 2020, 39 per cent of Ford’s passenger vehicle sales were SUVs and crossovers – up eight percentage points from 2019.
‘Moreover, customers are showing more confidence in electrification technologies, with more than 50 percent of Kuga owners purchasing a Kuga plug-in hybrid.’
The existing Mondeo will remain on sale in the UK until March 2022, when production will come to an end
The existing Mondeo – the fourth-generation car – is currently priced from £25,565
Ford recently tried to boost the appeal of the Mondeo with the introduction of hybrid versions. However, it did little to improve sales
Landing the killer blow, it said: ‘As a result of this growing change in customer preference, Ford will phase out the Mondeo, its large car, at the end of March next year.
‘Ford’s other large crossover and multi-purpose vehicles – the seven-seat Ford Galaxy and Ford S-MAX – will continue in production, with full hybrid versions of both recently launched.’
Launched in 1993, the Mondeo was the first Ford vehicle to be hailed as a ‘global’ car and was the first in the UK to come as standard with airbags.
Since its launch in Europe where it replaced the Ford Sierra, Mondeo sales have reached around five million to date.
Swing voters – dubbed Mondeo Man because they represented ‘Middle Britain’ and the successor to Sierra Man – were cited as sweeping the moderate Tony Blair Labour government to a landslide victory in 1997
The Mondeo took the British Touring Car Championship title in 2000 in the hands of Alain Menu. Pictured: Menu’s teammate Anthony Reid, who finished as runner-up in the driver’s standings in the 2000 BTCC season
The Ford Mondeo has even played a role on the silver screen. It was used in 2006 Bond film Casino Royale, driven by Daniel Craig in his maiden appearance as 007
Mondeos have been a firm favourite with police forces for three decades
It also had a successful competed in the racing world, notably winning the British Touring Car Championship in 2000 and featuring in other series across Europe.
The Mondeo even played a role in a Bond film, driven by Daniel Craig in his maiden appearance as 007 in 2006 movie Casino Royale – earning him the title ‘Bondeo Man’.
In the movie, he temporarily abandons his 200mph £200,000 Aston Martin DBS, and a classic DB5 that he would win while gambling, to roll up at a hotel in Nassau in the Bahamas in a £20,000 Mondeo family saloon. At the time, Aston Martin was owned by Ford, hence the appearance of the less glamourous set of wheels.
The Mondeo has also been a firm favourite of police forces up and down the country, even today.
The Mondeo was seen as a game-changer in the family-model sector when it hit the market. Even Jeremy Clarkson rated it
The Mondeo was, in first-generation guise, available as a hatchback and this marginally longer saloon variant
Practical and good to drive, the Mondeo won over plenty in the motor industry – even if the loks weren’t to all tastes
The existing model remains on sale in the UK until March next year, with prices currently starting from £25,565.
Ford launched conventional hybrid versions of both the Mondeo hatchback and estate in 2019 to tempt buyers into greener variants of the family wagon, but with little success.
The company said: ‘Ford is fully committed to evolving its passenger vehicle portfolio in Europe, strengthening its position with vehicles like the Kuga, Puma and Explorer PHEV.
‘The company is introducing new nameplates into Europe, with the outstanding all-electric Mustang Mach-E just being launched – and including the Mustang Mach-E GT coming later this year – and its first all-electric volume passenger vehicle coming to market in 2023.’
In 2001 Ford sold more than 86,500 Mondeos, but last year sales were down to a mere 2,400 units.
When Ford brought the Mondeo to market in 1993, it was the first model to have airbags as standard across trim levels
In 1997, Ford updated the mk1 Mondeo with rounder looks that became a huge hit with Britons
The Mondeo is currently in its fourth generation, with the most recent model launching in 2014 but failing to ignite interest from drivers.
Swing voters – dubbed Mondeo Man because they represented ‘Middle Britain’ and the successor to Sierra Man – were cited as sweeping the moderate Tony Blair Labour government to a landslide victory in 1997.
A Ford spokesman said: ‘Admittedly, 2020 was difficult all around, but the market segment in which Mondeo competes has been dwindling for years and is down about 80 percent since the start of the century.’
Ford has had some interesting advertising campaigns for Mondeo, including one featuring Tom and Jerry
The second-generation Mondeo was available in UK dealership from 2001 and remained on sale until 2007
This third generation of the Ford Mondeo was introduced in 2007
The third-generation Mondeo was facelifted in 2010 and remained on sale until 2014, when the current car replaced it. By this time, SUV popularly had seen Mondeo sales dip
He explained: ‘Our rationale is pretty much the same as others have said recently… all down to changing customer preference as consumers opt for SUVs and crossovers, and the fact that we’re evolving our passenger vehicle range in Europe to meet those changing customer needs as we move to an all-electric future. ‘
Speculation about a Mondeo replacement in Europe is misplaced, said the company,
‘There will be no Mondeo replacement in Europe.’
Mondeo being axed is a sign of Ford’s ‘new product development priorities’
David Leggett, automotive analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company said Ford’s decision to end sale of its Mondeo model with no direct replacement reflects both changes in the make-up of the European passenger car market and ‘Ford’s current new product development priorities’.
He added that the large family hatchback and saloon segment of the European car market – once a mainstay segment for the big volume carmakers – has been severely squeezed in recent decades as consumers turn their preferences towards SUVs.
‘For those able to recall the Ford Mondeo’s nameplate predecessors in Europe – the Ford Sierra and before that, the mighty Ford Cortina (or Taunus in Germany) – the announcement of Mondeo’s final demise may well be tinged with a little sadness,’ he said.
‘However, the decision makes sense for Ford in Europe from a product development perspective. Ford is investing heavily in electrification and sees SUVs and crossovers such as the Kuga – especially in its plug-in hybrid format – as occupying sales once taken by cars such as the Mondeo.
‘It would make little sense to invest considerable funds in a new generation Mondeo in its much-diminished market segment when there are other priorities.’
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