THE working man’s car that sparked a political revolution has reached the end of the road.
Ford has announced they will end production of the Mondeo next year after 29 years.
The car that inspired Labour leader Tony Blair to woo “Mondeo man” swing voters — and helped bring down the Tory Government — was launched in 1993 to replace the Sierra and cost just £11,200.
In the Nineties the Mondeo was a symbol of aspiring, hard-working families who were proud to have one on their drive.
Labour leader Tony Blair identified “Mondeo man” as a key target for New Labour in 1996.
At that year’s Labour conference, Blair revealed Mondeo man was inspired by a self-employed electrician he met while out canvassing who owned his own council house and a Ford family four-door motor.
One wag said the Mondeo is the only vehicle — apart from a tank — to bring down a government.
It even became a Bond car, with a starring role in Casino Royal with Daniel Craig at the wheel.
The motor was launched as the world’s first “global car” to be sold all over the planet — and the plan worked.
Ford shifted an incredible five million Mondeos, including 1.2million in Britain, the company’s biggest market.
In its launch year more than 127,000 British motorists bought one, and the Mark 1 won the coveted European Car Of The Year.
But by last year only 1,400 Mondeos were sold in the UK, prompting Ford bosses to reveal the car no longer has a future.
Although one of Britain’s best-selling cars, it was never built here.
Production of the Mondeo at Ford’s factory in Valencia, Spain, will end next year. The only place left to buy a new one will be China.
A Ford spokesman said last night: “The end of Mondeo is down to changing customer preferences away from big family saloons to SUVs and crossovers.”
The model’s demise was also hastened by the firm’s decision to switch to making electric cars, with a new battery-powered family motor due in 2023 and every car to be an EV or hybrid by 2026.
Ford of Europe’s vice president Kieran Cahill said: “Today is another step on Ford’s electrification journey.”
In its lifetime, the Mondeo has had four makeovers, being voted What Car’s Car Of The Year in 1993 and 2001. The latest is a hybrid version costing £28,000.
Sun columnist Jeremy Clarkson was a fan.
On a road test to mark its tenth anniversary, he wrote: “It’s comfortable, spacious, surprisingly well made and much more of a hoot to drive than you might imagine.
“Think of it as a librarian with a G-string under the tweed.”
Mondeo in numbers
- 1.2m sold in Britain in 29 years
- 1,400 sold here last year
- 4 versions in 28 years
- 127,144 sold in first year, 1993
- £11,200 price of the Mark 1 LX model
I’ve driven one for 20 years and still will
By Alex Goss
STOP all the clocks, pour away the ocean. Cordon off all the services on the M25.
The family car that dominated the world – and was named after it – is no more.
We all knew this day was coming. First it was the assault of bread van-shaped MPVs. And now the death march of the fake 4×4 clones.
But what a journey it’s been.
I’d always been an anorak for anything on four wheels growing up.
Autocar’s stats-at-the-back section was my bedtime reading.
And I can still remember the front cover when the Mondeo was unveiled. It changed the game.
TO THE MOON AND BACK
The turgid Mk5 Escort instantly became a distant memory.
The reviews raved about the best driving car in its class in decades – and it wasn’t a fancy GTI or a £50k BMW. It was at your Ford dealer.
Ten years later, I got the keys to my first. An aubergine purple N-reg 1.8 LX for the princely sum of £450. It didn’t have a stereo. And it didn’t always start.
But compared with the little Peugeot 205 I’d just sold it was as big as a spaceship.
We only had three months together before she was written off by a suicidal deer.
Then there was the metallic juice green 1.8 Zetec, R-reg, 103,000 on the clock. £1,800. 40k miles of trouble-free motoring.
A £3,500 space-grey, 54-plate Zetec followed – my first diesel – which gave 140k of faithful service before limping into a car supermarket on three cylinders.
She was part-exchanged for a 60-plate Zetec. And finally here we are today with a 72k-mile estate.
I’ve grown up with them for 20 years. Hotel Mondeo has literally been my home. We’ve been to the moon and back together.
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Ford gave us something special. The Mondeo provided a proper driving experience for the masses.
And our forecourts will be a greyer place without it.
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