Ford’s decision of a couple of years ago to end sedan production in North America was questioned by many. But the company didn’t get out of the sedan business altogether, as it continued to produce and market cars in Europe.
Purists in North America may not have liked the move, but Ford was well aware of market trends, which are continuing to drive consumers away from cars and into the arms of SUVs and pickup trucks.
Now, the same axe is falling on the automaker’s sedan lineup on the Old Continent, such as remained anyways. Ford has announced that the Mondeo, the European version of the Fusion that we know well here, would cease production next year, in March 2022.
Introduced in 1992 and then sold in the U.S. as the Contour, the first-generation Mondeo established itself as one of Ford's most important models in the 1990s. It was particularly popular in England, where it helped the company capture a significant share of the local market. In 1995, 118,000 units were sold there. But in 2020? 2,400. That's what we call a dramatic drop.
According to Ford, via the British magazine Autocar, “changing customer preferences” are to blame for the model's demise, which is another way of saying that Europeans don't want sedans any more than Americans do these days. They actually want models that offer a higher driving position. In 2020, 39 percent of Ford's European sales were of SUVs of all sizes.
Ford stressed that the Mondeo will not be replaced. For those looking for some form of car, a high-sitting version of the Fusion is in the works. It should debut before the end of 2021; we'll know what markets it’s intended for at that time.
With the Mondeo leaving the scene, Ford's European lineup will be devoid of a sedan for the first time in decades. Hatchback options are reduced to two with the Fiesta and Focus, while the only wagon still in the lineup is the Focus.