Bosses look to new super-luxury sub-brand as sales slump in Europe, with the hope that Vignale could become a brand of its own
Richard Bremner Autocar
23 November 2014

Ford of Europe CEO Barb Samardzich has high hopes for the company’s new Vignale luxury brand and would “love that it takes off so much that it becomes a separate brand”.

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.

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Ford S-Max 2006-2014

The Ford S-Max a highly accomplished car but it needs to be cheaper

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Comments
16

26 November 2014
A bit like Volvo or Jaguar.

Not hard to understand, though, the limited choices they have in trying to reach a market above Ford. They're not going to buy back what they've sold, nor combine with Audi, Mercedes or BMW.
Two remaining choices, roll out Lincoln or create a new upmarket brand or sub-brand, as per Abarth, Maybach, AMG, Alpina, DS, etc. Best of luck.

I'd find a Vignale MKX appealing if it had petrol hybrid engine.

23 November 2014
Gussied up Mondeo's and Focuses are not premium, not matter what made up bullshit badge u put on the back.

Still they will make for good second hand buys once the inevitable horrendous 1st owner depreciation takes hold.

3

23 November 2014
This design looks promising. Note the way the edge of the front door continues to define the front quarter window and the edge of the rear window carries on up to the rear fixed window. And the falling roof line matches up with the bonnet cut-line which in turn matches up with the end of the front lights. Furthermore the sharp edge of the rear light cluster points to the top corner of the triangular rear fixed window.
Everything is related to everything else !

23 November 2014
abkq wrote:

This design looks promising. Note the way the edge of the front door continues to define the front quarter window and the edge of the rear window carries on up to the rear fixed window. And the falling roof line matches up with the bonnet cut-line which in turn matches up with the end of the front lights. Furthermore the sharp edge of the rear light cluster points to the top corner of the triangular rear fixed window.
Everything is related to everything else !

I agree there are some nice styling lines apparent on the side view of this S-Max. Contrast this with the seeming random lines on something like the Mercedes A-Class, which end up looking contrived and incoherent. No matter how good the product, though, Ford will always struggle to sell anything 'premium', but conversely, in my opinion, the A-Class is a pretty average car which sells well mainly because of the Mercedes badge on the front.

23 November 2014
Starting with the Mondeo and S Max, then perhaps the Kuga and by introducing a Vignale version of the next Lincoln MKX/ Ford Edge in place of the Galaxy, they would, in effect create a European Lincoln range without the cost and risk. This can be extended to the Focus and more, maybe a Mustang Vignale too.

Could be a good way to try to win back some previous Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover customers. After all, Vauxhall/Opel's future is supposedly tied into Buick, not Chevrolet.

23 November 2014
Fords with a pile of extra chintz? No thanks. Oh and... err... depreciation will be horrendous.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

23 November 2014
...X-type - worked so well with the last "premium" Mondeo" !

25 November 2014
sierra wrote:

...X-type - worked so well with the last "premium" Mondeo" !

CHORTLE! You're such a comedian Sierra, rolling out tired old lines like the bloke down the pub who gets all his opinions from the Clarkson column in The Sun.

Why don't we call it A4, works well with 'premium' Superbs and Passats? Or A3, works well with 'premium' Octavias?

The Range Rover evoque is based on the same Mondeo platform that was partially used for the X types, and is a strong seller.

Every manufacturer is at it, to remain competitive you need to platform share.

23 November 2014
This is all very well, Ford, but you're looking like a kid with too many toys... Why the heck don't you make a proper, earnest and competent job of making Lincoln the up-market brand you think it is in the 'States? You're spending millions f dollars to set up Lincoln in China as a premium brand, with new showrooms, products and advertising, yet you're faffing around with this pseudo-premium semi-brand in Europe, of no-one has ever heard? A consistent global approach to Lincoln is what's needed, particularly as the lack of Lincoln in Europe will scupper any chance of premium success in China. They all look to Europe for style and cachet, not Dearborn, MI.

23 November 2014
Ford should do a proper job of making Lincoln a global up-market brand like they are doing in places such as China.

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