The Vignale sub-brand, which Ford says builds on the success of the highly specified Titanium X trim level, arrives with the all-new Mondeo early next year.
As well as getting a separate area in Ford dealerships, Vignale customers will also get ‘private account managers’ who will be the buyer’s point of contact with the dealership.
Senior Ford sources have previously ruled out models from Ford’s more upmarket US-based Lincoln brand being sold in the Europe as Vignales.
However, Ford’s struggling European arm is aware of the expansion of premium sales in the moribund EU market and will have been watching PSA’s creation of the stand-alone DS brand with some interest.
Lincoln is the subject of a massive revamp, with Ford set to spend more than £3 billion on a new architecture and several new models. Mark Fields, the company’s new chief executive, recently said it was important for the company to have a “relevant and vibrant luxury brand. You need to make the investment and build the brand”.
The new-generation Lincolns are due in five years’ time, with a big push into the Chinese market under way. However, by the time they are ready to roll, Ford’s European arm will be well placed to make a decision on Vignale becoming a stand-alone marque with bespoke models.
Meanwhile, although Ford of Europe is having great success with the Kuga SUV, with sales said to be up “substantially” over the past five years, and the launch of the mid-size Edge SUV imminent, it is not considering introducing the big Explorer model, which will be manufactured in Russia.