In the compact executive sedan market, the Blue Oval has generally been perceived as more everyday blue overall than precious blue Opal. The best example of this was Ford’s previous effort in this segment, the Mondeo, which never enjoyed the sales success it deserved in South Africa despite ticking all the right boxes. The badge lacked the necessary status for those wishing to announce their ‘arrival’ onto a higher social standing and the model was discontinued in 2006. From 2010 to 2014, however, Ford’s sales volumes grew by over 50% thanks to a flood of diverse new products including the Fiesta, Focus, Kuga and Ranger. Now it’s the turn of the new Mondeo, though this time badged as a Fusion built in Valencia, Spain.
Has Ford’s brand perception has grown by the same degree? That’s the real question. With the exception of the aging Audi A4, you can’t underestimate the brand pull of BMW’s propeller and Mercedes Benz’s three-pointed star amongst the emerging market. But while the 3 Series and new C Class are quality choices, every driveway in your neighbourhood features one and their pricey option lists don’t represent the best value out there. The Fusion might provide the alternative, along with cars such as the new Jaguar XE due here later this year. But, given that the big German three account for over 75% of the segment’s sales, can the Fusion really expect to make inroads?