The Ford Mondeo blew the doors off the mainstream car market almost a quarter of a century ago.

The 1993 Mondeo completely recalibrated what could be achieved by mass-market car makers and it was followed, in 1998, by the equally radical Focus.

But building a reputation for fine-handling cars has not helped Ford’s European division prosper in the way you might expect. When the execrable 1990 Escort was launched, Ford sold around 1.5 million cars in Europe, about 11.5% of the market. Annual sales drifted down to 1.28m in 2009 and eventually bottomed out at around 920,000 units and a 7.5% market share in 2013.

Ford of Europe has also been a formidable lossmaking machine, suffering $4.5 billion (£3.4bn) in pre-tax losses between 2011 and 2014, according to the Financial Times. An 8% rise in sales in 2015 realised a small £199m profit.

As the FT pointed out, Ford was still the second-biggest brand in Europe last year after Volkswagen, as well as the biggest name in commercial vehicle sales. However, 2015 profit margins were said to be just 0.9%. Ford, like most mass makers, is suffering from the rise of premium brands and rapid expansion of rivals.