LOS ANGELES -- Ford Motor Co. may replace the Ford Taurus with a version of the next-generation Mondeo from Europe, COO Nick Scheele said.
He also confirmed that Ford will penetrate the entry-level car market to compete against the Koreans.
In a meeting with journalists on June 22, Scheele would not confirm that the Mondeo is coming. But he noted that the Five Hundred sedan will move up in size and price above the Taurus. The Five Hundred is due in showrooms in 2004.
When the Five Hundred is in the lineup, Scheele is considering putting a Mondeo-based car between the Focus and the Five Hundred instead of the Taurus. "We've got to have one," he said. "It feeds into our cycle plan."
An auto industry analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Ford is accepting bids from suppliers for a Mondeo made to U.S. specifications, expected in 2005 as a 2006 model.
The current-generation Mondeo does not meet U.S. crash test requirements. Changing the model's front end to comply would be costly and could ruin its design, so Ford is waiting for a complete vehicle redesign to bring it to the United States.