Or Ford´s 2015 Mondeo is not alone. They are both guilty of the same crime. That crime is to offer a new model that differs very little from the predecessor.
Here´s the new 2015 Mondeo (above). Granted, it´s black and the lighting is terrible. It does look incredibly like the last one though. Ford does not usually do this. Usually they make it really clear that a new model has superceded the old one, for better and for worse. This time they have gone for an evolutionary approach. Perhaps they have overdone underdoing it. Seeing it in the flesh for the first time I feel the car really does resemble a version of the 2007 car and not a vehicle that does anything remarkably different from the last one. Had this car been launched in 2007 nobody would have noticed. The same is true of the current BMW 5 series and the Mercedes E-class. The Jaguar XF is playing the same game.
There are two reasons why Ford might be doing this. One is practical: to synchronise the US and EU market vehicles in this size-range. In theory it makes no sense to have similar sized vehicles in these markets running their own schedules. The world car market is now so uniform that whatever Idaho needs will suit Nordrhein-Westfalen, the Isle of Thanet and the Dordogne. The second reason is that Fords have lost value with indecent haste, in part because everyone knows that when a new model is launched the old model will seem dated and stale. Who wants the last generation Mondeo? To judge by the used car prices, not many. A 2006 Mondeo in top trim with 60,000 km under its wheels costs dramatically less than a BMW 3-series of the same year, a difference that is not proportional to their prices when new. Lower resale prices undermine the price that can be charged new. Ask Citroen and Renault and Opel and….
The risks for Ford are as follows: the new car´s dimensions are unsuited to one or other of the markets. This happened with the 1992 Ford Mondeo/Ford Contour. While the 1992 model went down like ambrosia in Europe, it was rejected in the US because the rear seating did not meet the locals´space requirements. The Honda Accord has fallen out of favour, in part because it is not sized to suit European tastes but is scaled to appeal to the North American market. I think this car is now too big. The last one was too big. If this car is bigger it really will feel bulky for a lot of drivers. The other risk is that they have played it too safe with the styling change. As I have said elsewhere, VW manage to make each new generation of Golf distinctive enough to be apparent at first glance yet visibly Golfish enough to retain the long-term value of the Golf image. The 2015 Mondeo appears to be a facelift in the style of the 2015 Passat which has retained the same glasshouse and main architecture of the previous model. Do I really have to take out a measuring tape to check if the side glass is a carry-over? Time for one of my cliches: if you have to measure a difference you haven´t really made one.
My gut feeling is that in waiting for the EU Mondeo and US Fusion ranges to synchronise, Ford have lost customers who won´t come back. I also suspect this Mondeo will not sell in the same numbers as the last one and will join the ranks of the vanished peers in the C-D class or will linger as an also-ran in the mould of the Laguna, C5 and 508.