The managing director of Ford of Britain has said that the 'Mondeo Man' tag used by the Labour Party in the run-up to the 1997 general election has damaged the brand.
Mark Ovenden believes the phrase has led people to believe that the company's cars are no better than average when, he contends, they are.
"I don't think 'Mondeo Man' did us any favours," said Ovenden, speaking to the Daily Mail earlier this week. "Everyone has grown up with Ford of Britain. People often mistake commonplace for average.
"Volkswagen in Germany is commonplace. But it is not seen as average. Does anyone say the Audi A4 or the BMW 3 Series is average because it is commonplace?"
It can be no coincidence that Ovenden's comments come as Ford looks to strike upmarket with the launch of its new Vignale trim level.
The range was previewed at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show with a Mondeo-based concept that featured swathes of leather on the dash and door tops, as well as high-end interior and exterior finishes and cutting-edge technology.
Ford has suggested that the forthcoming new Mondeo will be the first model to get a Vignale edition, and industry insiders tell us that the badge will gradually be extended to other models in the range, starting with the next S-Max.
The expression was first used by Tony Blair in reference to 'average' voters whom he felt had grown disillusioned with the party as it then was, and to support his concept of New Labour.
Do you think the Mondeo's still average, or does it deserve better than the 'Mondeo man' tag? Click through our slideshow below to see the Mondeo's evolution through the ages, and comment below to tell us what you think!