The 2008 Ford Mondeo

Much of the world first caught a glimpse of the Ford Mondeo in “Casino Royale” when Bond drives the car to go to the hotel to find answers on Le Chiffe. Many Americans were surprised at seeing the car and wondered if that was really a Ford or just a fantasy concept car. Unfortunately, the big shots at FoMoCo decided that Americans are only fit for cars such as the F-series pickup trucks, an outdated Ford Focus, Crown Victoria, a renamed Ford 500 (Taurus) and an Americanised Mazda6 (Fusion) while the rest of the world gets a brand new Ford Focus, Mondeo, Galaxy, Fiesta, Ka, S-Max, and Falcon.

Here are some pictures of a car Americans will not get to drive:

The so-called brain trust at Ford Motor Company argue that it would be unfeasible to import the Mondeo to the States because of the horrible Dollar-Euro exchange rate, which is now around 1USD=0.76EUR. They also rationalise that the new “Kinetic Design” styling is not American enough to satisfy American buyers who see ford as being “Bold and tough”. Interestingly enough, this is what the eggheads at GM said when people wondered why they couldn’t be bothered with importing Opels to the United States until Bob Lutz converted Saturn into Opel’s American brand.

To be honest there are many reasons why the Big 2.5 keep loosing market share to the import market: quality is slowly becoming a non-issue, but it is largely incompetent management that ultimately ruins them. We can see that in the background of some of the Big 2.5’s former CEOs: Rick Wagoner has a background in finance, Bill Ford also did finance and Dieter Zetsche worked as an engineer. This is partly the explanation why GM and Ford were loosing to the competition and this was also the same period Chrysler was being praised for having a successful turnaround.

Now looking at the current CEOs we can see that Tom LaSorda has a lean manufacturing background, Alan Mulally was a Boeing engineer while Rick Wagoner is still around but letting Bob Lutz play with GM’s product portfolio. With these changes in leadership and functions, one can see Chrysler’s product quality improve but with the overproduction of cars dealers don’t need. On the other hand, by bringing in a complete outsider who admitted to applying Toyota’s lean manufacturing techniques to save Boeing, Alan Mulally finds himself locked in office politics against those that wish to keep the status quo; even it if meant financial ruin. On the other hand, GM is finally seeing some signs of a turnaround after Bob Lutz was able to convince Wagoner to aggressively create synergies from their global resources.

Like most of us watching “Casino Royale” and noticing that Mondeo, Alan Mulally also wondered why Americans are not getting such cars over the States. It’s interesting to note that Ford Europe produces cars that are of higher quality than their American counterparts and were the ones who engineered the Ford Focus that became a hit when it first arrived in North America. It’s funny how Ford seems to have a schizophrenic personality when it comes to a coherent and original business strategy: first they decide to flush their brand equity for their Lincoln away by switching over from heritage names to an alphanumeric scheme used by Acura and Cadillac (that nearly got them sued by the former), they keep burning money away on Jaguar without really giving them a distinct identity within FoMoCo, decide to source technology from Mazda because they can’t develop their own decent platforms and then decide to pull off several massive buyouts just like GM when things went wrong. Out of all these problems, they still had no idea what to make of Mercury.

Can someone please tell me what Mercury stands for in the Ford Motor Company? What is Mercury’s target market and where the hell is it positioned in the market? What is considered the brand’s direct competitors? What is the brand culture behind Mercury? These are some tough questions for a brand that mainly exists to help Lincoln dealers sell relatively cheaper cars and was positioned as a “glorified Ford” to a “cheap Lincoln” during it’s lifespan. Much of Mercury’s current models are slightly pricier Fords with that trademark Mercury grille and badge.

Here’s an idea: Ford should actually consider importing European Fords and rebadge them as Mercuries. That way, they can actually justify the higher price points and have some unique products that would give the Mercury brand a real distinct identity. Ford had done this in the past when they imported Ford Capris and sold them in Mercury dealerships and with their two-door Cougar that was based off a first generation Mondeo platform. Bring over the S-Max, the Focus CC, Mondeo, and the Galaxy with more Aggressive European names like the Milan and rebrand Mercury as a brand that appeals to driver who strive for reasonable refinement and European elegance to differentiate it from Lincoln and Ford.

We have seen how GM was able to successfully revive the Saturn brand by transforming it into an American Opel and a long-wheelbase Vectra called the Aura actually won the North American Car of the Year Award for 2007. Then again, most of the innovators originally working in FoMoCo have already moved on to companies such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan, GM and even Chrysler… Well, here is to wishful thinking.


16 thoughts on “The 2008 Ford Mondeo

  1. GM FINALLY wise up after many years and brought Opels to America as Saturns. Superior to any American design Saturn in the past.

    I saw preview images of the 2008 Ford Mondeo wagon, debuting in Geneva next week. Why don’t they follow GM’s lead? Instead of giving us Mercurys that are rehashed American Fords, do what “lifeinmotion” suggests and make Mercurys the outlet for European Fords. That Mondeo wagon is HOT both inside and out.

  2. may look like a volvo that had sex with an audi, but i like both of those brands offerings and this mondeo is one nice looking ride. i have been a ford loyalist my whole adult life, owned no less than 15 fords but will not buy any new ford cars due mainly on looks and design. still have the trcuk but going with e85. i did email ford corp and asked about them bringing this here, but just got a lot of hot air in return. if enough of us want it maybe they will cave in. i can sey that if i like this as much in person as i have seen in photos i will buy one.

  3. I Recently returned from a few weeks in Scotland. When the rented Land Rover blew the transmission(10,300 miles) the rental company substituted a 2007 Mondeo diesel 6 spd. WHAT A CAR! 3 adult passengers, lots of luggage, 900 miles of city and mountain road touring @ 43 mpg, amazing torque and speed, no vibration and quiet (we have an old diesel mercedes and ford diesel pickup to compare). WE NEED THIS CAR IN THE U.S. I’m ready to buy!

  4. Lads and ladies,

    I’ve just driven the 2.0 turbodiesel AND BOUGHT IT ON THE SPOT! Bloody Beauty as we say it Down under. Was gonna wait for the Mazda6 but this Mondeo’s Euro looks beat the Lexus-wannabe styling hands down. Feels good too buying Amer-European and getting change back! Not always the case as you folks would know. Now here’s to hoping the depreciation on Fords here dont make me regret my decision.

  5. Ford thinks most American’s are idiots who wouldn’t appreciate the Mondeo’s styling. No wonder they are getting whipped by the Japanese! Newsflash, the current line of Ford cars in the United States look crappy, uninspiring, and aah, boring. Why is it that Europeans get the cream of le’ cream, and we get the scraps?

  6. Ford thinks most American’s are idiots who wouldn’t appreciate the Mondeo’s styling. No wonder they are getting whipped by the Japanese! Newsflash, the current line of Ford cars in the United States look crappy, uninspiring, and aah, boring. Why is it that Europeans get the cream of le’ cream, and we get the scraps?

  7. am shocked that you get such a raw deal in the states, us here in kenya that is africa already we have the new mondeo at our local ford dealers. i currently drive the old mondeo diesel and its a fantastic car with lots of torque and good economy plus fantastic handling, so ford please help our brothers in the states to get that beautiful great car.

  8. Ford needs to get their heads outta their asses. Most of the fords in the euro market have turbos and go well over 100 mph. If they were really an american car comp they would provide us with the best cars they have.

  9. Nice styling job! I sure hope it works for Ford!
    My DN101 Taurus’ were good cars.Both the 1989 and 1995.
    I am sure the new Taurus has better dynamics being Volvo S80 based. The european base for Us cars should do the same!
    I read in Car&Driver that the new Jag FX sedan is no longer SType or Lincoln LS based. Is it a rear driven version of the Mondeo chassis?

  10. Import the Mondeo as Mercury’s top luxury sedan.

    Import the Aussie Ford Falcon as a replacement for the aging Crown Victoria. The Falcon would make a GREAT Police cruiser and a NASCAR Race Car.

    Bring us Ford Europe’s Focus Hatchback BACK!

  11. I was in France last fall and took a look. Great fit and finish-Doors closed smoothly, solidly, and quietly-beautiful’. I hope Ford will have them in NA when it is time for me to buy. Right now there is no other car that would tempt me for its combination of quality, ride, and excellent mileage, especially in its diesel offerings.

  12. Mullaly is working his magic at Ford but is it enough to keep them sinking like GM and Chrysler? Toyota is being plagued by problems that consumed GM years ago and now the time is ripe for companies like Ford, Hyundai, and even Honda to pick up the slack

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