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Will the Mondeo kill the rear-wheel-drive Aussie car?

Discussion in 'The Pub' at netrider.net.au started by hornet, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. It's no secret that sentiment counts for nothing in the global world of selling cars, and that the BA-type Falcon has failed utterly to keep pace with Holden's new billion-dollar Commodore in sales. Ford's answer is to bring in the gorgeous new Mondeo....


    But this car has far-reaching implications.

    It's only a tad smaller than the Falcon, and it's just possible that it may finally break the nexus bewteen the average Aussie's hip pocket and rear-wheel-drive; "So I can tow a caravan when I go on holidays :roll:". If it does it will certainly replace the Falcon, and leave Holden as the only rea-wheel-drive maker in the Australian marketplace.

    Now I've never been a front-wheel-drive fanatic; somehow the idea of the rear wheels pushing me up Macquarie Pass instead of front wheels pulling me up same, does something visceral to my psyche. I loved my old rear-wheel-drive Triumphs, and only four-wheel drive seems a valid replacement for the engine being in the front (or rear) and the rear wheels being driven. And the marketplace up till now has supported that feeling.

    The Avalon failed completely to make a dent, and Toyota had a huge backlash when they dropped the fabulous rear-wheel-drive Cressida and told its loyal fans that they could buy a tarted-up Camry in its place.

    Mitsubishi's problems are global and not all related to the Australian market-place, but there's no doubt that, as good as they are, the Magna and the 'invisible man' of the current crop, the 380, have been failures in denting Ford and Holden's grip on the full-sized car sector, despite being squarely aimed at it. The same can be said of Toyota's Aurion, saturation advertising notwithstanding.

    But the world has adopted front-wheel drive in all sectors except that occupied by America's idiotic SUVs, and it can only be a matter of time before common-sense dictates that a tiny fraction of the population tow a caravan once a year on holidays, and that with a blindfold on, it's hard to tell between a rear-wheel drive car and a front-wheel-drive car in terms of dymanics and drivebility. And at the petrol pump.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that the Mondeo will be a big seller, and a serious competitor for the Commodore in the same market sector, and that within 5 years, possibly less, Ford will have to drop the Falcon altogether, leaving Holden in either the favoured position of still making once-a-year-towing cars, or isolated with out-of-date and hard to sell technology. The buying sectors that will drive this will be, as they always are, fleet and taxi purchasers.
  2. It's also failed to keep pace with the Toyota Corolla, and in some months, the Mazda 3. Which proves fairly well that large RWD sedans are not what are large majority of new car buyers want.
    I doubt any FWD or AWD car could ever come even remotely close to my MR car for fun. But I gotta admit when I borrow one of the work cars for business I frankly couldn't care less which wheels are doing what - as long as it's comfortable. For those buyers that basically only use a car to get from A to B every day through city traffic can't imagine why they'd want anything large, or care what wheels are driving it.
    Edit: But I don't think it'll be the Mondeo leading that change - more likely to be cars like the new Mazda 6 given the high markup on most cars sourced from Europe.
  3. Those photos don't do it justice. It's actually a really good looking car in the flesh.
  4. thats the first ford i have liked the look of in 'ears, possibly since the RS2000 :)
  5. Looks DO count in our market; the Holden looks like it is doing 100mph standing still while the Falcon looks like a carboard cut-out. I've seen three Mondeos, all in different colours, and I'd have to say it looks even better in the metal. I think it might be a winner.
  6. there a long way better looking than anything ford have brought out here for the last 20 years... :grin:
    i second that RS2000 i will take one of them to :LOL:
  7. The new Mondeo does look good. It also makes you wonder why Ford Australia didn't come up with a similar package years ago - instead of wasting so much time and money on the Territory (and not bothering to develop a diesel version). Of course Holden also had a perfectly good contender with the Torana concept they developed a few years ago (then didn't bother putting into production). The local manufacturers almost deserve to go out of business.

    Still like the looks of the new Mazda 6 better myself. Of course the Mondeo will have an advantage in fleet sales because it's an "Australian car", whereas the Mazda isn't.
  8. The Holden is ugly as sin, and cramped in teh rear seats. If it wasn't for fleet sales, and turning to exports (what a great idea Mitsubishi!) Holden would be floundering. It's also going to be4 a major maintenence nightmare when 150k kms rolls around, go have a look at how hard it is to get to the top of the engine at the rear.
    There are some great handling full size FWD platforms out there, Camry isn't one of them. The 380 is, and so was the last of the Magnas (AND they get down to 8.0l/100km on the highway, small car territory), and any Mazda or Nissan. By the way, the 380 is about where Mitsubishi's sales people expected it to be). FWD handling is different to a RWD, is inherently safer, and I can out pedal anything made locally with a six cylinder in our Magna......never mind off the line, where it kills Falcodores too.
    I don't think the Mondeo will make serious inroads into the market (unless fleets buy it, and for them to buy the car, they'd have to be assured of being able to sell them at teh end), as evidenced by the Taurus. Remember that one? Less than 3000 units sold over two years.......but then again, it depends on pricing. The car looks to have a lot of cargo space, and that's a big thing to a lot of people. I like the looks of it, it has a Roveresque look to it.
    I also like how they sourced a 2.5 litre turbo 5 cyl from Volvo......who in turn sourced the donk from Audi! :LOL: If it is anything like the Volvo 2.5, it'll be an excellent performer.
    I also like your reference to towing the van Paul, fact is, 95% of Falcodores I see towing have a 1000kg or less trailer on the back, and any large FWD platform will kill that sort of load.
    Side note, when are car manufacturers going to stop handicapping peole over 5'6" tall with their rear rooflines?

    Regards, Andrew.
  9. the 380 is a fantastic performer, i have driven 2, a red one and a white one :LOL:
    the problem is, they are a mitsubishi...nobody wants to touch them on a corporate level because they are a hassle for parts in bulk, and dont sell as well post use.
    the comany i work for once bought toyotas, then got a better deal with holdens, then back to toyota and now we are back in bed with ford. seems my next vehicle is going to be an "ugly as sin" ford ranger :(
  10. Actually yes Paul.

    That's 1 long and 1 medium length trip each year plus several long weekend trips.

    In addition to towing the caravan I also tow the boat, that's 1 long trip a month on average.

    On top of the caravan and the boat there is also the trailer. I tow that about 4 times a month.

    All of which makes me ask...

    "If Ford want to get market share with people who want a family sized car but who balk at the running cost with fuel so expensive... why in hell haven't they put a diesel option in the Falcon?!?!"

    There have been rumors about a diesel engine in the Territory for years now... just slack if you ask me.
  11. I'm not disagreeing with any of that, but eventually the bean-counters are going to tumble to the fact that not enough people are doing that, and then the market will change.

    Go out and see if you can buy a station wagon: and a lot more people used wagons than ever towed boats or caravans.....
  12. Not quite. Up until the TL magna sales peaked at around 30,000 a year. Other problems (such as crappy advertising, mitsu being dumped by chrysler etc) combined with the fact that the TL was the start of the downhill slope for mitsu's large car. Also they could really keep up with the power war without putting the price up by using better suspension, lsd and better tc to get the power to the ground (i own a 3L TE and even that struggles at times).

    And compared to the slightly older magna the 380 isnt quite as good (bigger engine pulling lots more weight). Probably the only thing keeping the 380 afloat at the moment is the strength of lancer sales. (The new one is hot! But cant tow a heavy trailer)
  13. My feelings on front wheel vs. rear wheel drive verge on complete indifference and I suspect my apathy is shared by car buyers on the whole. Sure, there are some car enthusiasts for whom it means something and a few who actually have legitimate requirements for one or another. But for most people the features that matter most are price and looks.

    Logically, it seems to me it would be desirable to shorten the length of drivetrain and to not have it run under the cabin, so I have no serious ideological problem with front wheel drive. On the other hand it would seem simpler to drive the wheels that aren't steering... So, umm... would the best position for the engine be somewhere closer to rear wheels then? It does seem to work for a number of sports cars...
    But for me, it will be fine either way. Come to think of it, I just realised I have no idea whether my car is front or rear drive! I'm sure I could find out but I just don't care. Either way it will carry the groceries from the supermarket just fine...
  14. if you ever drive hard and fast, or on dirt roads, you will know the difference!
    for the record, i hated my AWD on and off road until i worked it out, just like learning to drive all over again.
    same as crossing from it, in to the apollo (FWD) huge difference in technique.
  15. I'll never own a front wheel drive, hate them with a passion. People need to realize that putting the steering, braking AND the power through the same tyres is not the safest situation.

    I liked the look of the Ford Probe but once I saw it was front wheel drive :-( Japanese, rear wheel drive, fuel injected 6..... loved my supra.
  16. If the Mondeo succeeds in sales where the Falcon has failed, you may not have a choice. It's a long time since the Supra was a current model.
  17. Looks like I'll be driving and old, classic car till I die :wink:
  18. I'm on your side, mate, see above, but the Australian market has been uniquely rear-wheel drive and out of step with the world since the days of the Mini; we CAN'T stay in our cave forever..
  19. The main reason for the near universal adoption of FWD has nothing to do with vehicle dynamics and everything to do with production efficiency.

    As far as I can see, on the production line, it takes fewer operations to plonk a shell over a self contained power/drive/steering/suspension sub-assembly and fasten it in place/plumb it in, than it does to attach the separate components needed for a conventional RWD car.

    As to which is better, who cares? They're cars. Either will do everything I ask it to adequately for my (and the majority of others) needs. I'll get my fun on 2 wheels rather than 4.

    That said, I tend to go for RWD, all other things being equal, but that's just personal preference and not based on anything particularly concrete. It also reflects my preference for commercial vehicles.
  20. No, all you gotta do is drive properly. If you load up the front of ANY car, it will understeer off teh road. Same with a front driver. If you drive with proper technique (ie, do all your braking before turn in, and progressively feed power coming past teh apex), you'll go fast.
    Go drive any of the current generation front drivers that is not a budget model, preferably something with independent rear suspension. You will be pleasantly surprised.
    As for Supras, I just got rid of a Mk3 turbo, over rated bloody things. Heavy, underpowered, slow, nose heavy, cramped cabin, no carrying capacity, hellishly expensive on parts, maintenence nightmare but a bloody nice ride on average roads for it's age. The engineering in teh engine bay looked cobbled together too.
    I will say it was a nice car, with excellent feedback through the steering (after I installed urethane rack bushes). Having said that, the TW Magna we own is just as fast through a corner, and as fast in a straight line.
    However, sit in side the Supra, look around at all the plastic, and wonder why the hell people were paying $60k for them when they came out. It still looks like a cheap Toyota inside.
    I should have bought a Cressida, just as fast.

    Regards, Andrew.