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Mondeo revealed: this is what you're missing out on

Focussed styling: The Mondeo's New Edge styling has a strong resemblance to the Focus.

Ford's new Mondeo was unveiled in Europe last week but will not be sold in Australia

18 Sep 2000

THESE are the first pictures of the new Mondeo that Ford Australia is opting not to offer on the local market.

The new-generation car was unveiled in Europe last week and is due on sale in the UK in November.

Based on a larger new platform, the revamped Mondeo will be a significant player for the Blue Oval in Europe.

Its New Edge styling bears a strong family resemblance to the smaller Focus which, incidentally, has been put on the backburner as far as Ford Australia is concerned.

The new Mondeo is claimed to offer class-leading safety features, more interior space and improved performance and economy thanks to a range of new engines.

Dual front, side and curtain airbags are standard across the range, along with anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution.

Ford Australia president Mr Geoff Polites said the company's increased commitment to the four-wheel drive segment had prompted a renewed strategy in other segments.

"One of the tough calls has been to step away from Mondeo," he said.

"The market in which Mondeo competes is in decline. From 10.6 per cent of the passenger industry in 1996, it's dropped to 8.3 per cent in 1999 and is currently running at 7.1 per cent for 2000.

"Furthermore, it's forecast to drop further over the next few years, to around 5 per cent in 2003.

"So while we continue to support Mondeo in the Australian marketplace, we won't be taking the new model next year." Mr Polites said the Laser would be repositioned to help fill the void left by the Mondeo. A 2.0-litre model is due early next year as part of a revised Laser line-up.

"There's a lot more to this car (Laser) than we've fully exploited in this market so we'll be building on its traditional strengths while we move into more sporting variants," Mr Polites said.

"We've made the decision to delay Focus introduction while we make these other changes. Focus has been introduced to the European and US markets with tremendous success and we remain committed to seeing it here.

"We'll introduce Focus at a later date when we have the right package for this market, at a price that makes good business sense." Meanwhile, Mr Polites said the future of the Falcon was yet to be set in concrete and did not dismiss the possibility of an all-wheel drive configuration for the next generation model, due around 2005.

"I prefer rear-wheel drive but a lot of customers who buy Falcons and Commodores in 2006 will be people who are driving front-wheel drive cars now," he said.

"Maybe all-wheel drive is what they want. An all-wheel drive Falcon is a possibility.""The car market now is a different environment. Maybe a more radical bet is a more conservative bet in the long term." With Holden expected to unveil a tricked-up version of the new VU Commodore Ute at this year's Sydney motor show, Ford may respond by pulling the wraps off a four-wheel drive Falcon wagon concept at the 2001 Melbourne motor show.

Codenamed Raptor, the Falcon-based "soft-roader" has been undergoing extensive testing and development and is tipped to arrive on the market in 2003.

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