Currently reading: Ford looks to Vignale brand to boost European sales
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

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 Ford 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.

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:


Read our review

Car review

Fetching family freighter was a true wolf in sheep's clothing – one of the best-driving MPVs we've tested

Join the debate

Add a comment…
rmcondo 26 November 2014

A bit like Volvo or Jaguar

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.

Moparman 24 November 2014

Lincoln has become...

The badge-engineered Fords of America and had been heading that way for decades. It's name may have a certain ring to it with the Chinese, much like Buick for GM China, but it is nothing more that what Mercury was at the end of its life; a tarted up Ford. They tried with the LS ten years ago but it was neither truly a luxury car in the Lincoln tradition or sporty in the European tradition. Ford needs to get a rear-drive platform that can take it to the Cadillac CTS to re-establish itself in the States and then work on the other models. Right now that role falls to a Mondeo in drag. So, just like the Vignale then...
scotty5 24 November 2014

Ford stand to loose millions on this.

Honda managed it with Acura, Nissan with Infiniti, Toyota with Lexus etc, so why shouldn't Ford's luxury brand idea work? Err well it might have something to do with walking in to the same dealership and instead of turning left to the showroom containing a Mondeo with black leather trim, you turn right to the Mondeo with fawn soft leather trim. It seems that everyone apart from Ford's own execs thinks this is a bad idea.