Ford said the Mondeo remains part of its core European lineup despite fears for the car's future after the company announced it wouldn’t replace its current sedan lineup in the U.S. -- including the Fusion, on which the Mondeo is based.
The current Mondeo was launched in 2015, three years after the Fusion was first shown in the U.S. Sales have fallen as customers in the midsize sector gravitate toward SUVs.
The end of U.S. sedans, announced Wednesday by Ford CEO Jim Hackett, “makes it more difficult to justify the future of the Mondeo,” Ian Fletcher, principal analyst for IHS Markit, told Automotive News Europe. “Sales for it are far lower in the EU than they used to be, versus even just a decade ago.”
Mondeo sales in Europe dropped 17 percent in the first quarter to 13,973, figures from market analyst JATO Dynamics show. It finished fourth in the volume midsize segement for the period, behind the Volkswagen Passat, Skoda Superb and Opel/Vauxhall Insignia.
The Mondeo is built in Valencia, Spain, alongside the S-Max and Galaxy minivans, which use the same platform.
Last year, Ford told suppliers that it would move European production of the next Mondeo to China, Reuters reported. The automaker denied that was the plan. Midsize passenger cars remain popular in China. Exporting from there could allow Ford to satisfy demand in Europe once it dwindles beyond the point that local production makes economic sense.
“The future of models such as the Mondeo, Insignia or Superb could depend more on how Chinese demand goes,” said Felipe Munoz, a global analyst for JATO Dynamics. The problem with China is its preference for sedans, the one body style that Europeans don’t buy in any great quantity.
Fletcher of IHS said: “Building Mondeos in China is one option but would it be worth it without the hatchback and wagon variants?”
Ford of Europe said in a statement that the Mondeo remained a core part of its product lineup and that it would introduce upgrades this year, including enhancements to the hybrid.
But the future of a replacement is less clear, especially with Ford’s push into SUVs. Said Fletcher: “I think the question Ford must be asking themselves is: Would consumers miss it, and could they transition those to the vehicles it is earmarking for launch in the U.S.?”