European division mulling major product reshuffle as the Blue Oval continues to reduce costs globally.
The mid-sized Ford Mondeo could soon be no more, with reports out of the UK claiming the Blue Oval could drop its long-running nameplate as it tries to cut costs.
A new article by The Telegraph says Ford is facing “mounting speculation” that it’s planning to scrap the Mondeo range and cut up to 24,000 jobs.
Other model lines said to be in the firing line include the Galaxy and S-Max people movers, due to consumers shifting towards SUVs.
The report quotes a spokesperson for Ford saying the company is “focused on aggressively attacking costs”, though wouldn’t comment further on potential job cuts. It’s believed the final decisions are still a few months away.
Additionally, the spokesperson said the Mondeo “remains a core part of [Ford’s] product line-up in Europe” despite the fact it competes in a slowing segment.
The report comes after the Blue Oval has made several announcements as to how it plans to streamline its offerings globally and cut costs.
In April, Ford’s North American division announced it would be killing all passenger car lines bar the Mustang and upcoming Focus Active to prioritise crossovers and pick-up trucks – spelling the end for the Mondeo’s American twin, the Fusion, along with the Taurus, Fiesta, C-Max and Focus in the USA.
Since then, Ford told Automotive News last week that it has scrapped plans to bring the Focus Active to America, following new import tariffs placed on Chinese products imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration – while America’s version was to be sourced from China, other markets will get the version made in Germany.
Last month, Ford Europe announced it made a pre-tax loss of US$73 million ($98m) during the first half of 2018, a massive switch to the US$88 million ($118m) in profits it posted during the second half of 2017.
Bob Shanks, Ford’s chief financial officer, told Automotive News Europe and other outlets on an earnings call the “low-performing part of our portfolio represents a majority of our volume, revenue and capital deployed in the region”, referring to the Ford of Europe’s offering of “cars and multi-activity vehicles”.
In addition to under-performing model lines, Ford’s president of global markets, Jim Farley, also attributed the “majority of [Ford’s] deterioration” in the European region to the uncertainty around Britain’s exit from the European Union, and the consequent weakness of the pound sterling.
As a result, Ford Europe has committed to new crossovers and SUVs by 2020, cut costs in its European operations, and focus on partnerships – likely for its commercial vehicles.
Back on the topic of the Mondeo, it was reported in May the nameplate would live on until at least the mid-2020s, though it was uncertain it would be renewed for another generation.
We’ve already seen camouflaged prototypes for a facelifted version (above) likely to be launched later this year, so there’s still some life in the mid-sized hatchback and wagon range yet, it seems.
Should it not be renewed for another generation, we could see the Mondeo range morph into a crossover-style vehicle rather than culled entirely. In July it was reported by Automotive News that Ford was planning to replace the US-market Fusion with a “high-roofed hatchback” wearing the same name, likely pitched as a rival to the Subaru Outback.
Given the European market is home to various crossover-styled hatchbacks and wagons including Ford’s own Fiesta Active and Focus Active, a high-riding Mondeo would be a logical next step. For now, we’ll have to wait and see.
Speaking with CarAdvice, Ford’s local division said the Mondeo “will still be on sale for the foreseeable future”.
However, should Ford cease European production of the Mondeo, that would likely see the model dropped locally given the local division sources it from the company’s Valencia plant in Spain – unless it elects to import the Chinese-made Fusion. Stay tuned to CarAdvice for all the latest.
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