After almost 30 years car maker Ford has announced it is to phase out production of its Mondeo model next March.

Launched in Europe in 1993 to replace the Ford Sierra, it has sold around five million cars to date including about 1.2 million in the UK.

Owners of the car came to be identified as a key swing voter demographic in the 1997 general election won by Tony Blair’s New Labour, the so-called Mondeo man.

Popular in its heyday as both a family and company fleet car, sales have since dwindled and Ford is switching focus to electric models and sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

In 1994 alone, 376,000 Mondeos were sold in Europe but by last year this had fallen to 21,000 while in Britain, sales peaked at just below 87,000 in 2001 and fell to 2,400 last year.

13369674510243337176.jpgToday, it has been outshone by the popularity of SUV and related crossover models, which have grown to represent nearly two-fifths of Ford’s passenger vehicle sales.

The car maker is focusing on the switch away from petrol and diesel vehicles, with electrification, and it said customers were showing more confidence in the new technologies.

The car maker also announced further investment at its site in Valencia in Spain where the Mondeo is made, with a hybrid engine to be built there from late next year and battery pack assembly capacity being increased.

The car maker is aiming to have every car in its European range zero-emissions capable, all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2026, before going fully electric by 2030.

In the UK, Ford shut its engine plant in Bridgend, South Wales, with the loss of 1,700 jobs in September last year.

It has another engine plant in Dagenham, Essex, and a site making transmissions in Halewood, Liverpool.