Ford Mondeo is First Produced
The Ford Mondeo is a large family car sold by the Ford Motor Company in various markets throughout the world.
The name "Mondeo" derives from the Latin word mundus, meaning "world". The initial generation of the Mondeo was developed as a "world car", along with North American models marketed as the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique until 2000.
The Mondeo was launched on 8 January 1993, and sales began on 22 March 1993. Available as a four-door saloon, a five-door hatchback, and a five-door estate, all models for the European market were produced at Ford's plant in the Belgian city of Genk. The Sierra had been built there since its launch in 1982, although until 1989, right hand drive Sierras had also been built in UK at the Dagenham plant.
Intended as a world car, it replaced the Ford Sierra in Europe, the Ford Telstar in a large portion of Asia and other markets, while the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique replaced the Ford Tempo and Mercury Topaz in North America. Unlike the Sierra, the Mondeo is front-wheel drive in its most common form, with a rarer four-wheel drive version available on the Mk1 car only. Instigated in 1986, the design of the car cost Ford US$6 billion. It was one of the most expensive new car programs ever. The Mondeo was significant as its design and marketing was shared between Ford USA in Dearborn, and Ford of Europe. Its codename while under development reflected thus: CDW27 signified that it straddled the C & D size classes and was a "World Car".
The car was launched in the midst of turbulent times at Ford of Europe, when the division was haemorrhaging hundreds of millions of dollars, and had gained a reputation in the motoring press for selling products which had been designed by accountants rather than engineers. The fourth generation Escort and Orion of 1990 was the zenith of this cost-cutting/high price philosophy which was by then beginning to backfire on Ford, with the cars being slated for their sub standard ride and handling, though a facelift in 1992 had seen things improve a little. The Sierra had sold well, but not as well as the all-conquering Cortina before it, and in Britain, it had been overtaken in the sales charts by the newer Vauxhall Cavalier. Previously loyal customers were already turning to rival products and by the time of the Mondeo's launch, the future of Europe as a Ford manufacturing base was hanging in the balance. The new car had to be good, and it had to sell.
Despite being billed as a world car, the only external items the Mondeo shared with the Contour were the windscreen, front windows, front mirrors and door handles. Even the interior was slightly different. The CDW27 project turned out not to be a true world car in the sense that the original Ford Focus would later be; one design for the world.
A large proportion of the high development cost was due to the Mondeo being a completely new design, sharing very little, if anything, with the Ford Sierra. Using an all-new platform, the Mondeo featured new manual and automatic transmissions and sophisticated suspension design, which Ford hoped would give it class-leading handling and ride qualities, and subframes front and rear to give it executive car refinement. The automatic transmission featured electronic control with sport and economy modes plus switchable overdrive.
Safety was a high priority in the Mondeo design with a driver's side airbag (it was the first ever car sold from the beginning with a driver's airbag in all of its versions, which helped it achieve the ECOTY title in 1993) side-impact bars, seat belt pretensioners, and ABS (higher models) as standard features. Other features for its year included adaptive damping, self-leveling suspension (top station wagon models), traction control (V6 and 4WD versions), and heated front windscreen, branded Quickclear.
The interiors were usually well appointed, featuring velour trim, an arm rest with CD and tape storage, central locking (frequently remote), power windows (all round on higher models), power mirrors, flat-folding rear seats, etc. Higher specification models had leather seats, trip computers, electric sunroof, CD changer and alloy wheels.
During its development, Ford used the 1986 Honda Accord and Nissan Primera as the class benchmarks that the CDW27 had to beat.
Introduced in March 1993, the Ford Mondeo models were available in 4 door Saloon, 5 door hatchback and 5 door estate configurations. All feature a high standard of equipment, with driver/passenger safety in accidents being a particularly high design priority. All models are fitted with features such as side impact bars in all doors, "anti submarine" seats combined with seat belt grabbers and pre-tensioners, and an airbag fitted to the steering wheel. Vehicle security is enhanced with an in-built alarm system and engine immobiliser being fitted as standard, as well as double locking doors with shielded locks, and security coded audio equipment.
The four cylinder petrol engine was a new design, available in 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0 litre capacities. It is controlled by a sophisticated engine management system, which combines multi point sequential fuel injection and distributerless ignition systems with evaporative emissions control, exhaust gas re-circulation and three way regulated catalytic converter (with pulse air system for rapid warm up) to ensure that the vehicle complies with the most stringent of the emissions control standards in force, and yet provide the level of performance and economy expected.