By on January 8, 2012

Ever since the ill-fated Contour experiment, Ford has maintained a strict separation in its global midsized offerings: Fusion for the Americas and Mondeo for Europe (let’s ignore, for the moment, Australia’s Falcon as the doomed atavism it is). But under the global “One Ford” strategy, a fusion (ahem) of The Blue Oval’s midsized offerings was inevitable, and Ford has signaled for some time that the Fusion and Mondeo are on the verge of becoming one. And here, courtesy of the autoforum.cz, is the first leaked image of Ford’s unified, world-wide midsized contender: though the Fusion and Mondeo names will continue to be used in their respective markets, this car will carry both badges. But are we looking at a revolution in the oft-troubled “world car” game, or a repeat of the Contour’s compromises? Only time will tell…

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43 Comments on “NAIAS Preview: Ford Serves Up Some Global Fusion...”


  • avatar
    SV

    Here are some even better leaked pictures:

    http://www.autoforum.cz/predstaveni/ford-mondeo-2012-mame-prvni-skutecne-fotky-noveho-mondea/

    I’ve got to say, it looks really, really good. There’s maybe a hint of Aston but not to the extent that some have been saying, and it also avoids that carp-y look the STs have.

    Apparently the embargo ends tonight; I’m interested to see more and better shots, especially of the rear – hopefully that drooping character line meshes nicely with the inevitably Evos-style rear end.

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      And here it is, in both EU Mondeo and US Fusion spec, without blurriness, plus an interior picture:

      http://www.auto-motor-und-sport.de/news/ford-mondeo-auf-der-detroit-motor-show-2012-fusion-als-mondeo-vision-1903535.html

      It looks great. My only reservations are the slightly messy arrangement of the A-pillar and the somewhat slab-sidenedness of the rear fender area when viewed from the front 3/4. The interior is not what I was expecting at all; I figured it would be Focus on steroids, but this is decidedly more Volvo-ish. Not necessarily a bad thing. I’m very interested to see how the base model looks inside and out.

      • 0 avatar
        Bimmer

        From SVs’ link, a white car must be a Mondeo and red is a Fusion (with LED taillights). But I’d like to have that blue Estate, since it’s a Global Ford. But I’m sure we, North Americans, will be denied such car (as we denied Focus Estate), in favor of Completely Useless Vehicles (CUV).

      • 0 avatar
        ttiguy

        +1 on the wagon. Why does Ford hate America? That thing is beautiful!

      • 0 avatar
        FuzzyPlushroom

        One more vote for the wagon, of course. Honestly, I’d be content to see the beautiful fastback profile reveal a liftback (or Škoda-style ‘twindoor’).

      • 0 avatar

        I would prefer coupe style hatchback – practical and stylish. I owned two door hatchback with manual in 90s – nothing can compare – fun to drive and can put big items in the back!

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        The exterior looks decent, but…BUT…

        …and this is not a Ford specific criticism…

        …enough of the plastic posing as aluminum or whatever other kind of metal all the hell over the place on the interior, and especially around the center stack….

        …and….this IS a Ford specific criticism…

        …what is up with the lame gauge cluster, which appears to lack a tachometer, or if it has one, is too small to be of much practical use?

        Give us an honest, legible set of gauges, with like, readable digits and useful dials.

        That interior is plastic fantastic suckage.

        I can’t remember when I felt this much hype, yet was so disappointed, based on the gap between what press & marketing crews were tweeting/twittering/tawtering about and what I have seen so far.

        I’m just glad TTAC will be on hand @ the NAAS in Detroit to lay the smack down on the hypage.

        And let’s see if Porsche managed to make the revised Panamera look respectable enough to take through a Burger King drive-thru.

  • avatar
    ozibuns

    Check out Autoblog for two clear pics. Any hint of Aston was probably intentional and welcome. It promises to raise the styling bar in its class, and the interior is rumoured to be just as impressive. Finally a cohesively styled Ford!

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      +1 – it does seem to raise the bar styling wise (based upon the limited photos out there). Ford has done a good job of keeping this underwraps until the launch tomorrow. I much prefer this to having leaks slowly dribble out like the Encore has been.

      Assuming this drives as well as the current European Mondeo (a fair assumption) and keeps the current Fusion’s good reliability record then it is likely the class leader.

      • 0 avatar
        vbofw

        Agreed, gotta like how they’ve kept this under wraps. Fewer leaks than the average iPhone launch!

        When you combine this exterior – which is nice, but for its class much better than nice – with a likely huge interior upgrade ala the focus and the Escape (which looks sweet btw), I can’t see anybody objectively saying the Fusion won’t be the class leader. Maybe too strong of hyperbole, and its always most exciting at launch, but I can’t see this ending any other way.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        It literally has the presence of a 1990 Merkur/Ford Scorpio, exterior wise (I leave it up to others to decide if this is good, bad or indifferent):

        http://fordsierranet.com.ar/Fotos/merkur_6.jpg

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I love Astons. This looks awesome.

  • avatar
    mike978

    Ed asks “But are we looking at a revolution in the oft-troubled “world car” game, or a repeat of the Contour’s compromises?”

    As he says time will tell but it is interesting that Ford (and to some extent GM) is going for global cars (NA/EU at least) whereas VW (with Passat), Toyota (with Corolla and Camry) and Honda (with Civic and Accord) manufacture different cars for the two regions. Both appraches can work – there is no need for a one-size fits all. I do like Ford’s approach because it means good driving, highly refined cars from Europe make it over here.

  • avatar
    alluster

    Ford’s new design language and pricing strategy has me worried. As an unapologetic Det3 fan, i want Ford to do well. Ford OTH is taking its products upscale and pricing them accordingly, losing out in sales to less expensive entries from Honda/Toyota/Hyundai. The new designs are darn nice, but the price too steep for many to consider. Two of Fords biggest sellers last year, the Escape and Fusion are pretty old and this must be worrying the sales dept. The new euro design/pricing strategy has backfired on them with the Focus and Fiesta. With the new Escape and Fusion following the same path, I doubt if Ford really cares about volume anymore? Profits always trump volume, but not when you are still changing perceptions. When you build world class products, you need to get them out to as many people as possible.

    The new Malibu will eat this thing alive like how the Cruze destroyed the Focus. The Malibu has a road presence second to none in the segment. Looks very muscular and has the “i’m about to pop a vein” look.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I understand the concern about the new Fusion and Escape replacing the older, pretty popular models. This question around volume vs profit is not yet resolved but Ford is still selling good numbers of Focus. Near 200K a year in the US (and a top selling compact in Europe). So it isn`t like Ford have given up on volume. As for price yes a Focus can be $28K but you can get a competitive model for $20-21K (SE with Sports pack for example) and looking on Truedelta cost comparison they are close to Civic’s, Cruze etc so I don`t think Ford is pricing itself out. When they have replaced their compact car, midsized car and compact crossover with Euro models by the end of 2012 then we can assess if it was the right decision. 2013 will tell us.

      One obvious question this move upmarket raises is what happens to Lincoln. Ford could have taken the Acura route and badged their European models as Lincolns and produced a lower quality version and badged it Ford. In may respects good for Ford for not doing that since it means more Americans can drive a good quality (and driving) car rather than it being reserved for “premium” brands.

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        Another important point – Focuses are competitive on price. Just because you can load up a Titanium hatchback to nearly $30k does not mean it’s a poor value across the range. A Focus SE is within a few hundred of the Civic LX, Cruze LT, Mazda3i, etc. The only outliers in the class are the Elantra and Corolla.

        The new Fusion and Escape’s prices should be the same way: similar to their Japanese competitors. Which they already are, actually; the only difference is that the new models won’t be discounted nearly as much.

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      You’re jumping to way too many conclusions. The Fiesta has had a strong first year – 68,000 units sold, which IIRC is near the upper end of Ford’s projections. The Focus has had a rocky start but seems to be finding its footing, with sales up 12% last month (and I wouldn’t call 2k units behind the Cruze being “destroyed” – that reeks of fanboyism). Even with flat sales, average transaction prices $4-5k higher than the old Focus means way more profit for Ford. I think they’re doing just fine.

      The Malibu does look good – but that Malibu is a top-shelf model. Lower end ‘Bus are rather less impressive. And the Fusion’s shark-nose front end has at least as much presence, I’d argue more so.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The new Malibu will eat this thing alive like how the Cruze destroyed the Focus.

      US Focus sales for CY 2010: 172,421
      US Focus sales for CY 2011: 175,717

      http://media.ford.com/images/10031/Dec11sales.pdf

      Of course, a lot of that was fleet (then again, that’s also true of the Cruze), and the growth rate didn’t match the increase in the overall SAAR.

      But “destroy” is GM fanboy hyperbole, not a reasonable description based upon the facts. Yet another example of your tendency to ignore or misrepresent those numbers that don’t support your opinions.

      • 0 avatar
        alluster

        Lets see. In 2010, the Focus outsold the Cruze+Cobalt by 52,000 units. In 2011, the focus lags the Cruze+Cobalt by 57,500 Units. That is a swing of 109,500 units in just one year. Growth compared to 2010: Chevy C Segment – 91%(231,00 vs 121,00), Ford C Segment – 1.9%(175000 vs 172,000). I would def. call that “destroyed” considering more Ford dealers than Chevy, ‘Govt. owned’ badge for the Cruze and Ford selling a lot of cheaper 2011’s in the beginning of the year.

        The current Fusion managed to convert a lot of would be Focus buyers experiencing sticker shock. Once the new Fusion goes on sale priced proportionally to the Focus, Ford buyers will start looking elsewhere.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I would def. call that “destroyed”

        The trajectory of Focus sales was essentially flat. Its sales volumes between 2010 and 2011 didn’t change, for better or for worse.

        “Destruction” is fanboy hype from a GM booster who abuses, misuses and generally misinterprets statistics at the drop of a hat. Sorry, but I can’t just can’t take you seriously.

      • 0 avatar
        vbofw

        I love how people criticize a brand for **offering** upmarket options. Yes there is a $28k (MSRP) Focus. Yes it includes automatic wipers, it parallel parks itself, and contains the bleeding edge of tech. But just because they offer upmarket options which Chevy or Toyonda don’t offer, and because Ford decides to charge for these options for the 5% of buyers who will actually select them, is not a bad thing. More options are good for the consumer.

        And yes MyFord touch has glitches (so do iPhones) but as Baruth says, it’s undoubtedly where in car tech is going, like it or not. The only battle to me is whether tech goes touchscreen ala Ford or controller-operated ala Audi.

        I like the exterior of the Malibu, agreed its brawny, even if it’s in the out of touch old Detroit styling sort of way. Some buyers like that. Heck, lots of buyers like that. But the initial impression ofthe interior styling is 5 years outdated before it even launches.

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        Ford didn’t sell a lot of 2011 Foci early in the year. Inventories of the old model were quite low and as a result, sales were actually down rather a lot until the new model started production.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I don’t think the Cruze destroyed the Focus. Chevrolet did a better job ramping up production than Ford, and Chevy sold more, but this is by no means a permanent situation. Ford dealers have been complaining all year that they can’t get enough Focuses. Customers coming in to buy a focus have often been leaving with a Fusion due to lack of inventory of Focuses and higher incentives on the Fusion.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    WOW. Just Wow.

  • avatar
    npbheights

    It is impressive what Ford can do when they are not wasting billions on projects that will never pay off for Volvo, Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Land Rover. I am excited to see the MKZ version on Tuesday.

  • avatar
    alluster

    Side mirrors placed on the doors like the Lexus IS, ES and RX, kills the look IMO. It does not work for Lexus will not work for Ford. Sadly, this seems to be the new styling path many new models are taking, eg the buick encore. Unless this improves rearward visibility, please leave the mirrors where they belong.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I noticed that too – I am used to mirrors in the “normal” place. Will wait for all the photos and seeing it in the flesh before final judgement (color also plays a role).

      As for “The current Fusion managed to convert a lot of would be Focus buyers experiencing sticker shock. Once the new Fusion goes on sale priced proportionally to the Focus, Ford buyers will start looking elsewhere.” This is feasible and I have heard it mentioned before. 2013 will let us know if it is true.

      • 0 avatar
        Conslaw

        The price of the new Fusion will probably be higher but justified by content. They can’t go up too much. With a reasonably equipped Sonata selling for $21k, Ford has limited pricing power.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Ford can price it way higher than the Sonata, no problem. It’s a game-changer and will blow the competition away, remember?
        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/ford-fusions-debut-makes-the-lincoln-mkz-redundant/

      • 0 avatar

        Agree 100%. Sonata is not as good as current Mondeo and we are talking about new Mondeo here. Sonata already looks outdated to me. Of course they have to sell it at discount – you what you pay for.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      “please leave the mirrors where they belong”

      On the front fenders.

      • 0 avatar
        alluster

        “On the front fenders.”

        Good. Now poor people like me who roll down their windows to wipe the frost off mirrors with their hands will have to pay more and upgrade to window defrosters. :)

        Off topic: The days of cheap transportation are over. The current Fusion is a damn nice value which did everything one needs in a car. So was the prev gen Focus/Cobalt and current Impala, Escape. The next gen Escape and Impala are also going upscale. As someone who is perfectly happy with a 10 Yr old 02 Focus 5Spd, which has everything i really need in a car(AC, Heat, CD player and power windows), I do not understand why cars need to be so expensive anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The Fiesta also has the mirrors on little arms coming off of the doors. IIRC it was explained to us at the dealership by one of Ford’s new vehicle training staff as a means of reducing wind noise inside the cabin.

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    I for one think that the grill on the 2013 Malibu destroys the looks of the car. Chevy’s got to change that silly grin like grill as it is too cheap looking.

  • avatar

    Doubt I’d look up atavism anywhere else…

  • avatar
    skor

    (let’s ignore, for the moment, Australia’s Falcon as the doomed atavism it is)

    I’ve always lusted after a Ford Oz turbo I6. If I could get my hands on one of those babies, I’d stuff it into a first gen Mustang.

  • avatar

    My interpretation is Ford replaced Mercury brand with namesake brand. Now Ford seems to be stylish with premium interior and respectively premium price like VW was some time ago (and still is in Europe). So Ford is a new Mercury. Where it leaves Lincoln I do not know.I guess it is a right move because Ford before was intentionally cheapening Fords with bland styling to create room for Mercury. Lincoln must move up to compete with big guys though – it cannot replace Mercury since this place is already taken by Ford.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    “a repeat of the Contour’s compromises?”

    The Contour and the Mondeo were supposed to be built on the same platform, but they were different cars.

    Detroit designed the Contour to its own predilections in order to solve a problem that it could not solve. The Mondeo was the lead midsized sedan for Ford Europe. That role was being played by the Taurus in the US.

    Detroit tried to slot the Contour in to replace the Tempo as a compact. It was a disaster, not because the car was bad, but because the car was too expensive to build and sell for what the Tempo had sold for.

    The solution was to replace the Contour with the Focus. Now that the Taurus has moved up to the top of the line, the Fusion has a slot between the Focus and the Taurus where it can be profitably sold.

  • avatar
    Ooshley

    It may be a ‘doomed atavism’ but the Falcon is a full-sized car. When Ford fully assert the use of their global DNA down-under it will likely be replaced by the Taurus (or less likely a locally built derivative) and not the Mondeo which already sells alongside it here.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    I thought Aston was making money. And JLR announced a profit of over 1 billion pounds last year. So where would they be wasting money?

    Right now this car looks like a Chinese knockoff of an Aston Martin…


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