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The word Vignale is one that the fleet industry will become familiar with in the next 12 months, as Ford seeks to establish its premium branding with the launch of high-end versions of its new Mondeo and S-max.
The Vignale models will feature significant upgrades, with luxurious leather, different colours and trims, and on the outside, new grille, chrome detailing and bespoke alloy wheels. But the changes don't end there, with Ford looking to establish a premium service experience courtesy of dedicated sales and servicing specialists and a dedicated Vignale area of each dealership.
The firm will also bring courtesy cars to customers for service and repair work. A concierge service, phone apps and offers to access lounge facilities at airports are all among benefits that have been mooted, though the detail is still yet to be revealed.
"If people have had a Ford and want something a little more luxurious, it's now there for them within the brand," Ford of Britain boss Mark Ovenden tells BusinessCar. "Vignale is an opportunity to stretch the brand."
Ovenden feels the corporate sector to be important to the new brand's success. "I expect a high proportion of Vignale to go into fleet and contract hire," he states. "It will work with fleet customers first and foremost because of the product and the service levels", though he admits the firm will need to explain to the industry how Vignale's service enhancements in particular over the regular Ford range will work for business car operators. "The personal service they get in a Ford Store will apply whether they are retail or a fleet user chooser, but the product is a key part of it."
The Mondeo Vignale (pictured, above right) will arrive around half a year behind the regular Mondeo's early 2015 launch, and Ford has confirmed that an S-max Vignale will follow around six months behind the second-generation people carrier's arrival next summer.