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How, and why, the Ford Mondeo died in Australia

By Ash Westerman, 28 Mar 2020 News

How, and why, the Ford Mondeo died in Australia

Ford’s once-venerable mid-sizer hits the abyss, swallowed by the SUV march

  • Last models to arrive in the country later this year
  • SUV demand resulted in well-rounded sedan being culled
  • Fiesta ST and Focus only passenger cars left in Ford's local line-up

It’s a rare phenomenon; one where an entire sub-culture of motorist is encapsulated within a reference to a single model.

But that’s what Ford UK once had with its huge-selling, segment-dominating mid-sizer: the motorist known as Mondeo Man.

Read next: New Ford electric vehicle could come to Australia thanks to Rivian

It was a catch-all created in Britain as a neat label for the literally millions of sales reps and middle managers who found themselves in a company-supplied vehicle – yep, mostly a diesel Mondeo – with which to shuttle themselves up, down and across the United Kingdom.

It wasn’t a title to which many aspired, but it did highlight the no-nonsense, hard-working, stoic qualities of its driver; characteristics shared by the car itself.

Australians never developed the same love affair with Mondeo – we’ve always been defined more by Hilux Tradie Bloke – but the still merit-rich Ford did leave its mark on the mid-size segment.

It was first launched in 1996, dropped in 2001, then reinstated in 2007, ultimately spanning four generations. It consistently rated highly in Wheels comparos, lauded for its well-considered chassis tune, fine steering, and ultra-roomy packaging. But now, Mondeo is set to go the way of Holdens and dinner parties in a corona world. Yep, Mondeo is about to cop a bullet.

Actually, let’s call it a progressive culling: as of the start of this year, Ford elected to offer the Mondeo in base Ambiente trim only, effectively continuing it (upgraded with AEB and new 17-inch alloys) for fleet markets, and thus dropping the mid-spec Trend and top-spec Titanium. But after the final batch arrives later this year (month not disclosed by Ford Australia), the privacy screen will go up as the venerable mid-sizer finally gets the permanent-snooze pellet between the eyeballs.

Read next: Remember when the Mondeo was a Bond car?

The axing is no great surprise, given the market trend. “Changing customer preferences including an overall shift towards SUVs” is the official explanation from Ford Australia communications boss Matt Moran.

So yes, the segment in which the Mondeo competes is shrinking. Sales of mid-sizers Mondeo, Camry, and Volkswagen Passat, namely were down nearly 10 percent in 2019 against the year before, making their decline slightly sharper than that of the wider Australian car market.

Read next: Ford Mondeo v Holden Calais v Hyundai Sonata v Kia Stinger v Toyota Camry comparison review

And of those, it was only the resilience of the Camry that made the stats looks less severe than they otherwise would. Mondeo, to put it bluntly, has been tanking for over half a decade.  

The stripping of Mondeo from Ford’s Australian line-up will leave the Focus and Fiesta ST as the Blue Oval’s only passenger cars in the current line-up. Thankfully for Ford, ‘Ranger Man’ continues to prop up the local operation.