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Ford to treat Vignale models as highest trim level

Date: 02 April 2014   |   Author: Tristan Young

Ford has backed away from offering its new Vignale-badged vehicles as separate models in separate areas of a showroom and will instead offer them as a top trim level.

Speaking to BusinessCar, UK managing director Mark Ovenden played down the possibility of roped-off areas of showrooms where only Vignale customers could go.

"We have a strong opportunity with Vignale, particularly in the UK since we don't have premium brands any more," said Ovenden.

"In the past three to four years we've made strong progress with Titanium and Titanium X model mixes. The first Vignale will be the Mondeo and it will be available on more vehicles over time."

Ford is expected to offer Vignale versions of the S-max and Edge in 2015.

"We've got a year yet to get Vignale into showrooms," said Ovenden. "We're still defining the experience".

He continued: "We don't want other [non-Vignale] customers to think they are getting a second-class service. There could be more expensive cars than a Vignale model.

"It is a trim level above Titanium." he added.

Meanwhile, Ovenden said Ford would keep fast-turn, low-cost business registrations to a minimum and increase true-fleet sales.

"Our net fleet share will go up this year. Last year, Mondeo sales were poor due to closing the Genk factory, so we will see an advance because there is a new Focus and new Mondeo at the back end of this year.

"This and commercial vehicles will drive the rise.

"Retail is what we want to grow and we want to reduce short-cycle and increase longer-cycle business. We do like rental, it's part of the mix, but we keep it at a level, and that level is ideally about 15% market share.

"If we do a higher share then there's a downward pressure on residual values," he concluded.