For years, Mondeo men have been transferring in their droves to premium executive saloons, so it’s no surprise that the latest Volkswagen Passat, Skoda Superb and now Insignia have been keenly targeted at the vehicles that have been stealing their proverbial lunch. Even Ford, with its Vignale trim level, has been looking up to these heights.

For the buyer, the appeal is more space, more practicality, more quality and a lower price than the premium players. But this policy has scored only partial success and the UK’s love affair with the lease or PCP deal makes it considerably harder to pull off. 

As is often the case, residual values are the killer. To get sales volume, mainstream car makers often resort to bulk sales, rentals and discounting, harming subsequent used values and thereby lease rates. The premium makers play similar games, but their residuals are seemingly more robust.