New Ford Mondeo set for India in 2013
The car in the pic is the new Ford Fusion which the Blue Oval showed at the 2012 Detroit Show. This car is identical to the new Mondeo, with the company intending to share as much as 80 per cent of the Fusion with the Mondeo. The merger of the two names is part of the One Ford global vehicle programme. This very car is part of Ford's launch plans for India, we expect the car to go on sale here towards the end of 2013 wearing the familiar Mondeo name. Ford will show the Mondeo later this year at the Paris show and in Europe, as per tradition, there will also be a hatchback version featuring styling from the four-door sedan and an estate version will also join the Mondeo line-up.
The response at Detroit suggests that Ford have a winner on their hands. The styling is adventurous with cues from ex-Ford brands Jaguar and Aston Martin with just a hint of the new four-door coupe set, like Audi's swanky A7, thrown in - and the heavy influence of the Evos concept is unmistakable. The result is a bigger car (13mm longer, 26mm higher than the current Mondeo), with plenty of rear seat as well as cargo space. More importantly, it's a cohesive, distinctive looking car that neatly orchestrates a mature, but sharp look fronted by an Aston Martin-ish front grille. At the rear, the usual upward arch in the tail lamps has been flattened a bit, which makes the rear more serious, some-what Audi like in the taillamp design but overall, muscular and distinctly Ford.
The Fusion is to go on sale in the US market later this year. American customers will get the sedan with 179PS 1.6- and 237PS 2.0-litre (the same engine that's already available on the Range Rover Evoque) EcoBoost turbocharged engines as well as two hybrid models, one of them, the Energi is a plug-in hybrid, with a 2-litre Atkinson cycle (a fuel-economy oriented variant of the four-stroke combustion cycle) petrol engine working with the electric motor. The hybrids will be capable of all-electric operation. The base Fusion, though, will get a 170PS 2.5-litre inline four - there are no V6 engines for the Mondeo this time around. All the cars will be offered with a six-speed automatic and the 1.6-litre version will also get a six-speed manual in the US.
Ford designed the new car with the American market in mind and the platform is a bit stronger but it retires the current Mondeo platform in favour of a Mazda6-based platform. The front suspension is still MacPherson struts while the rear is an all-new multi-link setup.
Ford says the Mondeo, as per tradition, has been designed to be a driver's car. Ford has also modified the platform to accept all-wheel drive which the 2.0-litre Fusion will get as an option.
Inside, apart from the extra space, Ford has given it LED interior lighting, leather seats and an aircraft-inspired instrument cluster. A digital command centre' is standard across variants. Ford calls it the HMI or Human-Machine Interface which is operated by two steering mounted toggle switches and control vehicle and infotainment settings. Bluetooth is standard. The Fusion will also offer adaptive cruise control with a forward proximity alert, an adjustable speed limiter, lane departure warning, automatic headlamps and start-stop system activated by pressure on the brake pedal.
The Fusion is set for production in Mexico for North America and as the Mondeo it will be made in Europe as well as Asia. Ford's head Asia Pacific, Joe Hinrichs told OVERDRIVE that Indian introduction of the One Ford global models has been delayed until the full model range is available and that includes the Mondeo - we expect Ford to open sales for this car towards the end of 2013 once right-hand drive cars enter production (UK market debut is set for March 2013), with CBU kits being imported, probably from Germany. Enthusiasts will remember that Ford had started importing the Mondeo to India in 2002 but despite the car being extremely good - all the reviews were glowing and positive - sales were slow, perhaps that car was ahead of its time.
In India, as abroad, the fourth-generation Mondeo will go up against the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry. Which means Ford is looking at pricing it in the Rs 20-25 lakh range across variants. However, the big issue in this is the soon to be announced Toyota Camry in India, which will drop prices significantly. This should prompt Ford into considering Indian assembly for the Mondeo at its Chennai facility, since the new plant in Gujarat will only come online in 2014.