The long-term future of the Ford Mondeo seems unclear following the news that its US sister model will be dropped, but the New Zealand distributor is staying calm.
BUSINESS as usual and confidence that comment out of Europe is an accurate signal that no change is coming – at least not in the immediate future.
That’s the message out of Ford New Zealand in respect to the Mondeo, which despite having slipped in status here is considered a core product.
“The nameplate is not going anywhere. We always review the lineup to see where the popular variants are and, at the moment, we plan to continue with what we have.”
Comment from the Auckland-domiciled brand has come after a big shift in favour for the car, with Ford announcing that while the model will retain in its European lineup, the US equivalent – marketed as the Fusion – is set to be axed.
The US abdication had been predicted; the Fusion – which launched in 2012, three years ahead of the Mondeo’s arrival in New Zealand - has steadily slipped from favour in North America as customer in the sector have gravitated towards sports utilities.
For NZ has felt the same heat, but to lesser degree. It says that, with an average 80-100 units being registered monthly, the car is doing okay by class standards.
The arrival of a ST-Line has, despite supply hiccups, raised interest and the availability of the HEV hybrid model, as a special-order car, is also paying off, if modestly. With those models, the Mondeo line runs to five variants, the other being the Ambiente, Trend and Titanium.
Analysts suggest curtailment of the Fusion will make more difficult to justify the Mondeo.
Ian Fletcher, principal analyst for IHS Markit, pointed out to Automotive News Europe that sales for it “are far lower in the European Union 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.
Here the car generally vies with Toyota Camry, sometimes beating it in monthly count according to Clancy.
Interestingly, Ford cites the Subaru Outback as the category king – regardless that Subaru, and the industry stats standard, see that model as a sports utility. So, not a competitor.
However, Clancy says his brand reckons Outback should be considered because it is primarily a station wagon – albeit an elevated one. But it’s the load-all credential that is considered in cross-shopping.
“We put it in there because we know that when people shop they are in the same basket.”
Either way, he says as far as Ford NZ knows, the Mondeo (which comes to us from Valencia, Spain) is safe.
“This is a purely North American announcement. There is no need for concern.”
Mondeo’s future was also reported on last year, when news agencies said Ford had told suppliers that it would move European production of the next Mondeo to China, where passenger cars remain popular. The maker subsequently denied that was the plan.