When Ford came to replace the mid engined Sierra after a decade in production, product planners wanted to produce all new car that was packed with the latest safty features and advanced mechanical and electrical systems. The Sierra replacement was to be massive leap forward for the Blue Oval badge of Ford Motors. The only way to make sense of a multi billion dollar investment was to design the Mondeo as a World car. By building it and selling it on both major car buying continents (the USA and Europe), Ford had a much better chance of making a decent profit on the car. At the time Ford must have been convinced that US and European tastes in styling and packing had already or were about to converge. Begin in early 1993, the European Mondeo and the North American Contour and Mercury Mystique were essentially exactly the same car built at two different factories: Genk in Belgium and Kansas City in the USA. The car’s components were drawn from supplier world wide. Despite the excellent efforts under the skin, Ford’s stylist produced a modern, slick but ultimately anonymous body shell. The car was highly praised in both markets for the excellence of its chassis and the depth of its all round competence. But while the Mondeo was clearly optimized for its European market segment, the Contour was regarded in the USA as lacking in rear seat space, although the American market saw it as fun to drive.
The lack luster sales of the Contour and its Mercury sister perhaps again proved that US and European automotive tastes are highly unlikely to converge on anything apart from specialist niche and prestige vehicles. Nevertheless, Ford invested further into the world car plan with the 1998 Focus, a European Escort replacement, which would also be sold in the USA.