Ford Australia has confirmed it will use the forthcoming new Mondeo to straddle the medium and large car segments beyond the demise of the Falcon in 2016, meaning a supplementary offering such as the US-market Taurus is off the local radar.
The Taurus has been the subject of ongoing speculation and has even been caught testing in Australia by CarAdvice spies. The new-generation model isn't far off and being based on a longer version of the Fusion/Mondeo platform means it could be converted to right-hand drive.
Falcon vehicle line director David Wilkinson, however, said the car maker wouldn’t technically re-enter the large car segment.
“We don’t plan to replace Falcon,” said Wilkinson. “The volumes for us, for Toyota, for Holden … are clearly not what they used to be. The [sales] graphs that show volumes over last 10 years are a fairly straight line [downwards].
“New Mondeo is clearly a new-generation car, good size car… It won’t replace Falcon but it will be our medium to large car entry.”
The new Ford Mondeo is due in early 2015, having been delayed continually since it debuted in the US, where it is known as the Fusion, at the 2012 Detroit motor show.
Bigger than the already decently sized older Mondeo currently on sale here, the new version is only 8.6cm shorter than the Falcon (pictured below in FG X guises), 1.5cm lower and actually 4.2cm wider.
Crucially, for some buyers, it is a front-wheel-drive car compared with the rear-wheel drive of the Falcon typically favoured by large car buyers in Australia.
Holden is set to make a similar move with the Commodore once production of the Falcon's chief rival ends in 2017. The next-generation Opel Insignia medium car is hotly tipped to become the new Commodore, though Holden is still deciding whether it will retain its famous large-car nameplate.
Ford Australia’s marketing manager, David Katic, said the Mondeo will have more than just its sufficient size to promote to former Falcon customers once the incumbent large car is no longer available.
“We’ll be communicating the benefits of Mondeo to large car customers [beyond the end of local manufacturing], and our plan overall to really heavily communicate the car. Mondeo is an amazing story for us. It’s got incredible technologies: a diesel engine that is more efficient than a hybrid; it has inflatable rear seatbelts.
“From a marketer’s point of view, you’ve got that kind of dream you want – you want the product development team to give you all those great stories.”
Ford Australia revealed last week that the Mondeo would come in both sedan and wagon body styles, each available with a choice of Ambiente, Trend and Titanium trim grades.
There will be turbo petrol and turbo diesel four-cylinder engine options, expected to be 2.0-litres.
Ford Australia has previously indicated it will not import the hybrid or 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo versions of the Mondeo.