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Frankfurt show: Ford heads upmarket with Vignale

Fancy Ford: The Ford Vignale concept features more premium styling touches than regular Mondeo variants.

Ford targets premium market with Vignale flagship that could make it to Australia

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Ford logo12 Sep 2013

By TIM NICHOLSON

FORD has signalled its intention to take the Mondeo – and other models – upmarket with the unveiling of a premium Vignale concept at the Frankfurt motor show this week.

In a move that could be significant for Ford Australia as it prepares to discontinue the Falcon in 2016 and rely instead on the European-sourced Mondeo as its flagship passenger car, the Vignale version will offer styling enhancements and more features than the current range-topping Titanium variant.

Developed along similar lines to Citroen’s DS cars and, potentially, Renault’s mooted Initiale Paris series (the latter previewed with a people-mover concept at Frankfurt), Vignale looks set to be positioned as a high-end sub-brand compared to the mainstream model line.

It is believed Ford will offer variants of the Vignale – which is also the name of an Italian coach-building company – across a number of medium and large-sized models, with US industry journal Autonews reporting that the flagship versions will attract a 10 to 15 per cent premium over the Titanium.

Ford is reportedly expecting Vignale to account for around 10 per cent of all European sales and is hoping to attract buyers from established premium brands.

“Our vision for the Vignale product range is to deliver vehicles with true upmarket credentials,” said Ford of Europe executive design director Martin Smith.

“We wanted to create something unique for Ford, with world-class quality and craftsmanship.”

The Mondeo Vignale sedan and wagon concepts in Frankfurt feature a number of styling differences to the standard models, including a redesigned grille with honeycomb-shaped grille inserts.

Other flourishes emphasising the premium nature of the Vignale include a restyled front bumper with slimline foglights and an extension of the grille insert, chrome lines running from the lower front door and wrapping around the tail, new alloy wheels and Vignale badging above the front wheelarch.

Ford has upgraded the cabin of the Mondeo to include leather door inserts, soft-touch leather on the steering wheel, centre console, instrument panel and centre armrest, and Vignale detailing on the leather seats.

The company also plans to improve the ownership experience by offering exclusive services for Vignale customers such as service pick-up and delivery, free car washes for the life of the vehicle and invitations to Ford-sponsored events.

The fifth-generation Mondeo is expected to go on sale in Europe later this year and will arrive in Australian showrooms in the second half of 2014. It went on sale in the US, where it is sold as the Fusion, late last year.

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