With the 2013 Ford Mondeo now becoming the 2014 Mondeo with the closure of Ford’s Genk factory, will Europe now get a re-badged US Ford Fusion?
The Genk Plant makes the Ford Mondeo and the Galaxy and S-Max (which are built on the Mondeo platform) and, at its peak, was building over 300,000 Mondeos and over 100,000 MPVs.
But by last year the Mondeo production had dropped below 100,000 mark and MPV production had dropped to 80,000. Obviously, Genk was untenable on that basis, but is the Mondeo now a lost cause for Ford in Europe – at least as far as production goes?
Sales of the Mondeo in the UK were a relatively paltry 20,000 in 2011, just half what they were in 2008. Compare that 2011 figure to the sales of the Vauxhall Insignia and BMW 3 Series – both more than 40,000 – and to the sales of the Ford Focus – more than 80,000 in 2011 – and it seems clear Ford has lost so much ground with the Mondeo it’s almost a lost cause.
So what can Ford do?
The US counterpart of the current Mondeo is the last generation Fusion – which was built on a different platform – so there was no real opportunity to combine production. But now the US already has the new version of the Fusion, and it’s based on what is going to be the next generation Mondeo.
Despite Ford’s claim that manufacture of the S-Max, Galaxy and Mondeo will move to Spain when the Genk plant closes in 2014, logic asks why(although Spain may get the S-Max and Galaxy) would Ford gear up their Valencia plant for the Mondeo when it sells so few, and the Ford plant in Mexico already builds the Fusion?
Building Fusions in Mexico and sticking Mondeo badges on may be the answer to Ford’s dilemma with the Mondeo, a brilliant car the world no longer seems to want. And if Ford does go the Mexico route with the next Mondeo, will they even bother building a RHD version? Would the costs warrant the sales?
All logic says Ford will sell the 2014 Mondeo in Europe as a rebadged Fusion from Mexico, and perhaps even drop the Mondeo in the UK. They could even drop the Mondeo name too, with enough time elapsed from the demise of the UK Fusion for buyers to forget it was once a bloated Fiesta in Europe.
Unthinkable? Perhaps. But we once thought the Ford Granada/Scorpio would be the top of the Ford range for ever. And who under 30 even remembers it now?
2013 Ford Fusion Photos
Sales Date Source: SMMT (thanks, Ed)