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Ford to woo family buyers with next Mondeo

Family business: Ford is laying the groundwork for the Mondeo to become one of its key family-car fighters, with Falcon continuing to struggle and set to be killed off in 2016.

New Mondeo to offer 1.5-litre EcoBoost, inflatable rear airbags at launch next year


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14 Aug 2013

FORD Australia is preparing for the redesigned Mondeo medium-sized hatch and wagon to become its all-important family passenger car fighter as the locally built Falcon continues to struggle ahead of its discontinuation in 2016.

Although not due to reach Australia until the second half of next year, the new-generation Mondeo was presented at Ford’s ‘Go Further’ event in Sydney yesterday as one of the key models for the company as it transitions to a full-import brand over the next three years.

Asked whether the Blue Oval brand will continue with a family car after Falcon, Ford Australia president and CEO Bob Graziano said: “We think we have the right portfolio based on what customers are looking for.” And responding to questions about the continuing decline of the large-car segment, which has fallen a further 28 per cent this year, Mr Graziano said: “Australians want other kinds of vehicles.” Rather than look for a replacement for Falcon such as Taurus, Ford will rely more heavily on the mid-size Mondeo to attract Australian families into its showrooms.

It will also look to increasingly popular SUV and light commercial alternatives, particularly the all-new Everest SUV unveiled at the event and the related Ranger dual-cab utility.

Ford Motor Company’s executive vice-president of global marketing, sales and service, Jim Farley, introduced the new Mondeo hatch and wagon, both of which will be sold here with powertrain choices including two versions of the EcoBoost direct-injection turbo-petrol engine family – the familiar 149kW/300Nm 2.0-litre version and an all-new smaller 133kW/240Nm 1.5-litre unit.

Ford Australia is not planning to introduce a hybrid model here, but an upgraded version of the current 120kW/340Nm 2.0-litre Duratorq diesel engine will be available.

Mr Farley said the Mondeo would become the first in class to feature rear inflatable seatbelts, which are designed to reduce head, neck and chest injuries for rear seat passengers.

Ford claims that in the event of an accident, the belt expands to disperse crash forces across a body area five times greater than that achieved by a conventional seatbelt.

“This is class-leading technology that will rival many premium competitors,” Mr Farley said.

“The new Mondeo will redefine the medium car and set new standards for others to beat.” The US auto giant’s global sales boss also pumped up the new mid-sizer as having “an unbeatable blend of premium design, craftsmanship and smart technology”.

On the latter, the Mondeo will follow other European-bred stablemates, including Focus, Fiesta, Kuga and Transit, in offering the ‘Sync’ in-car voice-control system.

Ford is also claiming improved dynamics, refinement and ride comfort – particularly for rear seat passengers – with the latest Mondeo, which is the first vehicle built on the company’s new global front-drive C/D (small/medium) segment platform and the first to feature a new ‘integral link’ rear suspension.

A new electric power steering system will also be introduced.

Like every other car-maker bar Toyota in the increasingly competitive medium-sized segment, Ford will be hoping to steal sales from the all-conquering Australian-built Camry, which currently commands a 37 per cent share of the segment, with more than 12,000 sold to the end of July.

The Mondeo, on the other hand, is currently managing only a 5.7 per cent share and its sales are down a massive 38.5 per cent in 2013, with less than 2000 units sold for the year thus far.

Relying heavily on private buyers, Mondeo has clearly suffered at the hands of the new-generation Mazda6, sales of which are up 30 per cent YTD to almost 5000 units, for a 14.8 per cent share.

Other models performing well on the mid-size sales scoreboard this year are the Honda Accord and Hyundai i40, while Nissan is expecting to become a major player in the segment with the arrival of its all-new Altima early next year.

Falcon? The large car has recorded only 5664 sales so far this year, down 27.3 per cent. Its 594 sales last month – the worst on record – were just 165 units ahead of Mondeo.

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