Ford believes customers will accept its new 1.0-litre Ecoboost engine in the new Mondeo when it arrives late in 2014, Fleet News can reveal.
Poised to be the first car manufacturer to offer an upper-medium model with the option of three-cylinder power, company officials have given the go-ahead to a plan to include a 125bhp Ecoboost version of their award-winning compact petrol motor in the next Mondeo line-up and are convinced there will be no worries about the size of the engine.
The entry-level engine has already proved itself in the Focus and Fiesta and the downsizing move has ceased to be a controversial topic of discussion in the company, according to Ford of Britain marketing director Anthony Ireson.
Although most fleet operators will still favour the diesel, increasing price premiums for diesel cars over petrol variants (which will create higher depreciation) as well a widening price gap at the pumps, could see the breakeven mileage point for diesel continue to increase.
Petrol cars such as the new Mondeo 1.0 Ecoboost, with CO2 emissions expected to be lower than 130g/km and fuel consumption better than 50mpg on the combined cycle, could become suitable for many lower mileage drivers.
"There has been some concern internally over the possibility of negative response, but it’s clear from our research that customers like it. I think we’ve been too old fashioned in our thinking over this – people now accept that you can have a small engine that provides better performance.
"This new EcoBoost unit will match the output of the current 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine but will produce greater torque," Ireson told Fleet News.
Asked if the delayed Mondeo would carry a different name, he said: "Name-changing is the sport of kings in Ford and a matter of constant discussion. However, in general we take the view that a change of name costs far more than it is worth.
"A name has to be really finished in the minds of consumers before it is changed and Mondeo is nowhere near that point. It is true that it does carry some negative connotations in the wake of the Mondeo Man tag coined by the Labour administration, but we think it can recover."
Author: Maurice Glover