Ford says farewell to 'Mondeo man' as car to be phased out

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image copyrightGetty Images
image captionFive million Mondeos have been sold since 1993

A car that became the byword for a certain type of British motorist will be phased out next year after 29 years in production.

The Ford Mondeo was launched in the UK in 1993 and has sold five million since on the back of popularity with both families and executives.

But demand has shifted towards SUVs and lower-emission cars.

So production of the Mondeo will stop at Ford's Valencia plant in early 2022, the company said.

The American car giant has been re-evaluating its business model as the motor industry shifts moves towards zero-emission motoring.

Ford plans that all its cars sold in Europe and the UK will be fully electric by 2030, with every model having a hybrid or electric option by 2026.

"Today is another step on Ford's electrification journey, providing a bridge to an all-electric passenger vehicle future," said Kieran Cahill, vice-president of manufacturing at Ford of Europe.

'Mondeo man'

But for a generation of motorists it will signal the death of an icon, as the Mondeo was always more than just an executive saloon and estate vehicle.

On hearing the news the BBC's business correspondent Simon Jack tweeted: "This feels like the end of a political era."

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionThe car had its heyday in the 1990s

That was a nod to the concept of the "Mondeo man", popularised by Tony Blair at the Labour Party Conference in October 1996.

It was a reference to the centrist, no-nonsense, hard-working voter that Blair hoped his then new vision for the Labour Party could attract.

While politics long ago moved on from Blair's vision, the Mondeo remained popular, but with dwindling sales each year.

Almost 40% of Ford's sales in Europe of passenger vehicles in the past year were SUVs or crossovers, compared with 31% just a year earlier, the company said.

Time waits for no man. Not even Mondeo Man.

The Ford Mondeo was meant to be comfortable, economical, spacious and safe. Far from flashy, but enough of a car to sit proudly on suburban drives.

It was a symbol of hard-working aspiration. A favourite of sales reps the length and breadth of the country. It was the kind of car that the kind of voters New Labour wanted to attract would buy. And so Mondeo Man was created.

But times have changed. The family hatchback now seems outdated; aspirational drivers now want SUVs, or their smaller brethren, known as Crossovers.

So the Mondeo is going and Mondeo Man has taken his place in history - replaced, no doubt, by SUV Steve, and Crossover Kate.

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