2000 Ford Contour SVT
2000 Ford Contour SVTEnlarge Photo
The auto industry was going global, as the 20th century called it a wrap. Ford had shared platforms between its various divisions, even selling European cars as Mercurys and underpinning compact Fords with Mazda platforms. The Contour and its Mercury Mystique companion were the next step of globalism: they were Ford's first real shot at linking car development between the independent branches of its far-flung family tree. The Contour's architecture was meant to feed multiple brands: it replaced the compact Tempo in the U.S., the C/D Mondeo in Europe, and even gave Jaguar a new small car to sell around the world. The Mondeo was a resounding success: the other spin-offs were Ford's first fails at using global vehicles in mainstream U.S. segments and in luxury brands, and the whole exercise taught lessons it used on its next global car, the Focus.