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Ford plots new Vignales, but Focus not on the table

Date: 22 May 2015   |   Author: Tristan Young

Ford will grow the number of cars carrying the Vignale badge to four by the end of 2017, doubling the number of models initially expected to come with the branding.

The Mondeo Vignale will be launched in September in the UK with the S-max Vignale arriving before the end of the year, but BusinessCar sources have also confirmed that a Kuga Vignale will go on sale next year and a Fiesta Vignale in 2017. The latter will be based on the all-new Fiesta.

However, while Ford refused to officially rule any cars in or out of having a top-spec Vignale model added to their range, it is thought less likely that a Focus Vignale will appear within the next couple of years.

Ford plans to sell between 2000-3000 Mondeo Vignales in 2016, its first full year, with 70% going to fleet.
Vignale is Ford's attempt to offer a more luxurious product and buying experience, and a premium brand rival. The bodywork features more chrome and better quality paint. Inside, the cars have very high standard spec including leather.

In the new Mondeo, the Vignale trim level replaces the Titanium X Sport in the previous Mondeo. However, Vignale offers even higher specification for near identical pricing, which runs from £29,045 to £33,310.

To maintain the luxury feel, the Mondeo Vignale will only be offered with the higher-output diesel engines, as a hybrid or with a high-power petrol engine.

Ford says it will also offer customers a better experience in terms of buying the car and having it serviced. These upgrades include a dedicated Vignale area within showrooms, contact with a dedicated service manager, a collect-and-deliver servicing offer, and free car washes.

User choosers, particularly from smaller business, will be the main fleet buyers for the Mondeo Vignale, and Ford expects half of Vignale customers to be Ford fans and the other half conquests from rival brands.

The firm hopes the low targets in terms of sales will also help keep residual values higher than the rest of the Mondeo range.

However, RV expert Glass's is not currently forecasting an uplift in RVs for the Mondeo Vignale versus the regular model, although it agrees with how Ford is positioning the car as a top trim level within the Mondeo range, rather than a separate premium brand.

Rupert Pontin, Glass's head of valuations, told BusinessCar: "At the end of the day, it is a Ford Mondeo. The volume upper medium sector has decreased in size and there is less demand as a whole.

"An important question needs to be answered: who [will want] to buy this car as a used prospect? The majority of volume will be through fleets and there will be little exposure to retail customers. When it goes on sale to used customers, will the demand be there? As a result, we're forecasting similar values to the rest of the Mondeo of around 35% over three years/60,000 miles.