Just how are Ford planning to entice premium marque car owners into buying a Vignale?
Quite a few production model debuts and concept cars were introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) this year, as we have already covered. One of the most interesting, in our view, was the Ford Vignale.
Undoubtedly spurred into action by the top-selling Mondeo Titanium figures (that currently equate to around 50 percent of Mondeo sales), this move is aimed squarely at buyers who may otherwise buy into the reigning premium marque models from the likes of Mercedes, Audi and BMW.
In this toughly contested sector, buyers are not necessarily looking for value for money; they are looking for the prestige. So, just how are Ford planning to overcome this consumer hankering for these prized badges?
Firstly, Ford are planning to produce a whole range of “luxury” models; the first of which will be based on the new Mondeo. There will be other models to follow and Ford are planning to begin rolling them out some time in early 2015.
The Vignale sub-brand vehicles will be exclusively designed with unique Vignale styling (both inside and out) and will also feature a high level of specification and technology. The interior will feature premium crafted materials and signature details that are unique to the Vignale brand.
The Mondeo concept featured 20” Vignale alloy wheels, special badging, restyled bumper and fog lights, a mesh front grille and the (somewhat controversial) “Nocciola” brown paintwork.
Inside the concept car was a sumptuous collection of luxurious features including soft-touch leather that reached to the centre console, centre armrest and even the instrument panel. The Vignale moniker was also present on the scuff plates and floor mats. Technologies included the Ford SYNC with MyFord Touch connectivity system; this allows smartphone integration and delivers wi-fi.
Buying into the Vignale range will not just be all about the car, though. Oh no. Ford are planning to provide a VIP customer care package that will include access to air-travel services (covering dedicated check-ins, club-house entrance and chauffeuring), exclusive finance services, a reward point scheme, concierge services and a dedicated relationship manager. Ford will be working with a number of partners including restaurants, hotel chains and entertainment venues.
There are many sceptics who feel that no matter what Ford actually do, the Vignale brand just won’t cut the mustard as far as the aspirational buying public go.
Maybe not, but time will tell – we think that the customer service idea is a fabulous one. Who knows; it may well force the other prestige car manufacturers to sit up, take note and up their game. Which can only be a good thing.