A mid-sized car in the antipodes but a large car in Europe, Ford’s Mondeo was the result of a massive new-product development programme called CDW27. Figures vary between $2,000 million and $6,000 million. The result was a “world car” in theory, though US models (Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique) differed sufficiently once again—something that hampered other efforts such as the GM T- and J-cars, the Chrysler–Simca Horizon and the Ford Escort. This time, however, Ford came out with a car that was dynamically superior to the competition, in an era where it was hurt badly from cost-cutting on the 1990 Escort in Europe. However, the dull styling led to the nickname of Mundano, and a regular misquote during the 1997 General Election campaign in the UK (then-Leader of the Opposition Tony Blair referred to an average Briton as a Sierra driver—‘Mondeo man’ tended to be the quotation) connected the Mondeo with repmobiles there. Desirability came with a 1997 facelift (Mk II), which was even adopted in style in the US. Ford’s quest to ape the success of its German rival, Volkswagen, saw the release of a VW Passat-like Mk III on the CD132 platform in 2001. However, the BMW 3-series outsold the Mondeo for the first time during these years.
Ford came back with its most desirable and largest Mondeo to date for the CD345 generation. It represented value for money, packed with goodies such as Hill Launch Assist, for those who hadn’t mastered hill starts. This put the Mondeo where the original Granada was: a car that was better than its prestigious rivals, and a lot of car for the money—a £50,000 car for £25,000. The problem was that CD345 is huge—practically the same size as the EA169 Falcon, equipped with engines twice the size, and in markets where it is sold alongside the Falcon, it risked cannibalizing the traditionally larger car, which saw its sales drop. By 2012, the Mondeo and Fusion lines were effectively merged into a single model with two nameplates, mirroring the uniting of Taunus and Cortina a generation before. As Ford retreated from passenger car segments, it continued with the Mondeo in China with Changan, launching a fifth-generation (Mk VI) model in 2022.