After nearly 30 years, the Passat's rival is about to bow out.
After Ford ended production of the US-spec Fusion last year, its European sibling will suffer the same fate at the end of March 2022. The Blue Oval has announced plans to terminate assembly of the midsize sedan/liftback and wagon at its Valencia plant in Spain due to "growing change in customer preference." Long story short, the rise of crossovers and SUVs has gradually diminished the demand for sedans and wagons.
Launched in 1993 as a Sierra replacement, the Mondeo has racked up approximately five million sales in Europe. While it's undoubtedly sad to see it go, the writing was on the wall for a long time. According to a Ford spokesperson cited by Automotive News Europe, "the market segment in which the Mondeo competes has been dwindling for years and is down about 80 percent since 2000."
Gallery: Ford Mondeo facelift
Once a star of Ford's Euro lineup, the Mondeo could be followed by main rival Volkswagen Passat as the sedan version of the once hugely successful German model will allegedly be discontinued as well. The VW Group has confirmed a next-generation model, but reports say it will be sold exclusively as a wagon. A next-gen Skoda Superb has been announced, so people not into SUVs will still have a traditional model in the midsize segment. The Peugeot 508 and Opel/Vauxhall Insignia are also available, along with several premium sedans, so not all is lost in this segment.
Bear in mind the Mondeo is not going away entirely as Ford is still selling the car in China where it was updated last year with a massive 12.8-inch vertical screen. Customers in the People's Republic are still very much into sedans, so there's a pretty good chance the Mondeo will continue locally in the following years. Looking at the VW Group's vast sedan family in the country, the body style will stick around.
It certainly doesn't come as a shock Ford is retiring the Mondeo in Europe, but we are somewhat surprised to hear production of the Galaxy and S-Max minivans will continue in Valencia. An indirect replacement of Europe's Mondeo and North America's Fusion is expected to take the shape of a jacked-up rugged wagon. It's been spotted several times and could debut later in 2021, but it's unclear whether it will keep these names alive.
As for the Valencia plant, Ford is making investments to start production of a 2.5-liter Duratec hybrid engine from late 2022 for the European market. The company will also boost battery pack assembly to prepare for the fast-approaching electric era as the Blue Oval will sell only electric passenger cars by 2030 in Europe. Commercial vehicles with combustion engines will still be available in the next decade, but only in plug-in hybrid models that will be sold alongside EVs.