Ford is discreetly working on new mid-size vehicles to reinforce Ford and Mercury brand ranges from around 2005, the Detroit News reported.

According to the ‘motor city’-based newspaper, which cited Ford officials and future product analysts, the key model will feature a four-door sedan to “eventually” replace the ageing Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable as volume passenger cars for the brands.

The current Taurus could overlap with its replacement but is expected to be phased out within a few years, the Detroit News said.

Analysts told the newspaper that Ford is also studying other variations that could include a medium-size sport wagon, a hatchback and possibly a crossover utility vehicle with the new line plugging a gap left when Ford dropped the European Mondeo-based Contour and Mercury Mystique several years ago.

Ford has come under fire recently for its lack of a C/D-class car (the Taurus is a size or so up) to compete with successful ‘Japanese transplant’ models such as the best-selling Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and Nissan Maxima.

There has been considerable speculation over whether or not Ford would ‘Americanise’ the current European Mondeo, acclaimed for its stylish sharp-edged look and high quality Volkswagen-inspired interior. Mazda’s new 6, with redesigned four-cylinder engine line including an advanced diesel, is also a candidate for tailoring to US tastes.

However, several recent reports suggest Ford US will style its own car incorporating elements from both the Mondeo and 6 in the platform and mechanicals.