No guarantees were given by Ford Motor Co. to the union boss at its plant in Genk, Belgium, about its survival. The Genk plant’s union officials had a meeting with Ford of Europe CEO Stephan Odell at the European headquarters located in Cologne, Germany. Ford is finding ways of dealing with the excess production capacity in Europe where Ford anticipates a loss of over $1 billion in 2012 as new-car sales drop due to the economic difficulties in the region.
The Wall Street Journal reported last Thursday that it’s likely that the Genk factory, which rolls out the Mondeo midsized car and S-Max and Galaxy minivans, would be shut down. Rohnny Champagne, a spokesman for Genk's ABVV union, told Automotive News Europe that it has yet to get assurances about what’s to become of the Genk factory.
Odell explained that he can’t make any reassurances. He pointed that Ford gets similar requests from the unions in its other facilities in Europe and he responded to them in the same way. Champagne said that he believes that Genk production of the new Mondeo will begin next October after a six-month delay.
The all-new Ford Mondeo is the first for-Europe model that is underpinned by the carmaker’s new global CD-segment platform. This platform allowed the Mondeo to have the carmaker’s new integral link rear suspension configuration that should allow for better dynamic road performance as well as enhanced refinement.
Likewise, the new Mondeo will now feature Electric Power Assisted Steering as well as an optimized anti-lock braking system that could reduce stopping distances by over a meter when decelerating from 100 km/h (62 mph) to zero.
Koesters remarked that since the body structure of the new Mondeo is around 10 percent stiffer than that of its predecessor, as helped by technologies that could enhance handling – like Torque Vectoring Control – the next-gen model is the most responsive and versatile Mondeo so far.
To make sure that the new Ford Mondeo delivers a high level of strength, safety and sustainability while still weighing less than its predecessor, it employs sophisticated materials as well as production methods. For instance, the A- and B-pillars as well as the roof rails were made from hydro-formed high strength steel. In addition, the inner tailgate structure of the four- and five-door models of the Mondeo is made from magnesium, making it around 40 percent lighter than a steel equivalent.
Meanwhile, the Mondeo model powered by the 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine features a body structure lighter by up to 115 kg, thanks to a recycled Front Energy Absorber that increases protection for pedestrian during crashes.
Overall, the 1.5-liter EcoBoost Mondeo is around 25 kg lighter than the previous-gen 1.6-liter EcoBoost model. Around 80 percent of the weight savings were used to inject technologies that could help enhance comfort and safety levels while improving the Mondeo’s fuel efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions levels.