Mondeo man takes a bow: Ford’s long-running family car to be axed next year as SUVs and electric vehicles take centre stage
The Ford Mondeo, a favourite with 90s middle managers and the aspirational working class, has reached the end of the (production) line.
It was 1997 when the term ‘Mondeo man’ first came into our vocabulary.
Used by Tony Blair at the Labour Party Conference in 1996, ‘Sierra Man’, as it was originally known, was a reference to the hard-working, middle-income voter the Labour party needed to convince in order to secure the 1997 election.
But after 30 years and 5 million cars, in early 2022 Ford will cease production of the Mondeo at the Valencia plant and Mondeo man will be no more.
Ford’s first global car
Taking part of its name from the French word for “world”, the Mondeo was originally hailed as Ford’s first ‘global’ car. It was intended to consolidate a number of Ford models around the world and took over from the ageing Sierra.
However, the part of the large car market that Mondeo competes in has declined by 80% over the past 20 years.
In 2001 when it won the What Car award for Car of the Year, almost 87,000 models were sold in the UK alone. Fast forward to 2020 and annual UK sales had dwindled to 2,400; killed off by the push towards electrification and the rise in popularity of the sports utility vehicle.
Despite the Mondeo making a cameo appearance in the 2006 Bond film Casino Royale, it seems it was not equipped with the necessary level of weaponry to fight off the popularity of the SUV market.
Indeed, in 2020 two in every five cars sold were SUVs or crossovers. So Ford’s announcement that the decision’s a result of changing customer preferences comes as little surprise.
Ford’s £16bn investment in electrification
Instead of the Mondeo, from late 2022, Valencia Engine Plant will build the 2.5-litre Duratec hybrid engine for Europe which powers the Kuga PHEV as well as the Kuga, Galaxy and S-MAX Full Hybrid models.
Earlier this year Ford announced it is investing at least $22 billion (£16bn) globally in electrification, nearly twice the company’s previous electric vehicle investment plans. It’s also investing $1bn (£700m) to create the Ford Cologne Electrification Centre in Germany for the manufacture of electric vehicles, the company’s first such facility in Europe.
Kieran Cahill, vice president for manufacturing at Ford of Europe, said: “Today is another step on Ford’s electrification journey, 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 $3 billion since 2011.”
The firm plans to have every car in its European range zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2026, before going fully electric by 2030.
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