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Hybrid Ford Mondeo not for Australia

Electric dream: Aussie Ford fans anticipating a petrol-electric Mondeo will have to keep sitting on their hands as it has been ruled out for local launch.

Ford Australia to side-step hybrid, AWD diesel, three-pot EcoBoost Mondeo variants


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7 Sep 2012

FORD Australia will take a rain check on hybrid and all-wheel-drive diesel variants of the next-generation Mondeo when it arrives Down Under late next year or early 2014, and will side-step the 92kW/170Nm 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost revealed yesterday.

Australian buyers will continue to be offered the hatch and wagon body styles with the new Mondeo, with the sedan remaining off the menu here.

Ford Australia brand communications manager Neil McDonald told GoAuto there is not likely to be much deviation from the existing Mondeo line-up come the new model and that it is too early to talk about how the product strategy may unfold in the longer term.

The new European market variants were announced at a product event in Amsterdam overnight, from which first images of the hatch and wagon body styles, plus interior shots were published ahead of a full reveal at the Paris motor show on September 27The hybrid Mondeo can reach 100km/h on electricity alone, fed by a lithium-ion battery pack that supplements the 105kW 2.0-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine to achieve a total power output of 140kW.

Ford expects fuel consumption in the region of 5.0 litres per 100 kilometres – 0.2L/100km better than the Australian-built Toyota Camry Hybrid.

In addition to the three-cylinder, conventional drivetrains are confirmed to include four-cylinder 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engines plus diesel variants fitted with all-wheel-drive.

Even without the hi-tech new drivetrains in Australia, the new Mondeo promises to be a technical tour-de-force with on-board gadgetry usually associated with high-end luxury cars.

The list includes a wireless internet hot-spot that can connect up to five devices, full LED headlights, an eight-inch touch-screen with Ford’s Sync and MyFordTouch voice-controlled telematics and connectivity systems, plus a retractable panoramic sunroof for the wagon.

Safety is also boosted by the European debut of innovative inflatable rear seatbelts designed to reduce head, neck and chest injuries by spreading the crash forces over an area five times larger than with a normal belt.

Ford group vice president of product development, Raj Nair, said the Mondeo contained more than 148 actuators and 86 sensors, including radar, ultrasound, cameras, speed sensors, temperature sensors and rain sensors.

“We are committed to making new technologies available and affordable across a wide range of vehicles, as quickly as possible,” he said.

“As we move into the realm of hi-tech computing, our cars are increasingly smart.”

Ford’s Sync system provides hands-free calling, converts text messages to speech and provides playback for various digital entertainment sources.

Like General Motor’s OnStar system, it also automatically contacts emergency services if the car’s airbags are deployed, and Mr Nair said it could even alert allergy sufferers if they are heading into an area with, for example, a high pollen count.

Mr Nair said in the US Sync was “a key purchase factor” for one in three Ford buyers. “Sync is a competitive advantage unique to us. None of our competitors in Europe have it.”

The 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost turbo-petrol engine headlining the new Mondeo line-up has accounted for almost a third of European Focus sales since it was launched, according to Mr Nair.

Ford group vice-president of design J Mays said the Blue Oval is forecasting growth of more than 15 per cent in Europe’s mid-sizer ‘C/D’ segment by 2017.

“The market is challenging, and C/D sales in Europe have experienced a downward trend over the last decade – from 13 per cent in 2000, down to eight per cent last year,” he said.

“But the good news is that it now has stabilised and we expect it will start growing again.”

Mr Mays said it was a segment filled with “highly aspirational” buyers and believes exterior styling is “the number-one purchase consideration” and that the growth projection is “achievable with the right design”.

Ford Australia will be hoping local buyers will react similarly to the new Mondeo, as competition is about to hot up with next year’s launch of all-new rivals such as the Mazda6 and Holden Malibu.

As well, sales of the current Mondeo hatch and wagon range are down 22.7 per cent year-to-date.

Despite this, Mr McDonald said Ford Australia was “pretty happy where Mondeo is going this year”.

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