This is the Ford Mondeo Vignale, a flagship Mondeo which heralds the start of Ford's plan to produce more premium versions of existing cars. Each will wear a new Vignale (pronounced vin-yar-lay) badge.
As an example of what we can expect from the new range – due in early 2015 – Ford will showcase the Mondeo Vignale Concept, featuring a unique interior and subtle exterior updates at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
When the production version of the Mondeo arrives, it will borrow a number of cues from the concept, such as unique 20-inch alloys, Vignale badging and bespoke bumpers.
The interior offers quilted leather trim, special Vignale seats and soft-touch leather on the steering wheel, door tops and centre console. Buyers will also get more luxurious floor mats and specially embossed kickplates.
Sitting inside the Ford Mondeo Vignale there’s a real premium feeling, with a high-quality leather smell and an Alcantara rooflining. Remove the badges and this could easily be a high-end Mercedes. Following the introduction of the Mondeo Vignale, Ford has promised that the luxury badge will be applied to more models - and the S-MAX is next.
The reason for the new strategy is that Ford sees higher-spec cars accounting for more than half of its sales in Europe. It believes it has to build more expensive models, as premium makers such as BMW and Audi move to the cheaper end of the market, with cars like the 1 Series and A1.
It also claims that there’s a generation of people out there that doesn’t care about brands, but want a boutique, luxurious experience instead.
“Vignale represents the highest expression of the Ford brand in Europe from both a product and from an ownership experience perspective,” said Stephen Odell, Ford president of Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Vignale buyers will get a special ownership experience “inspired by exclusive services from beyond the world of automotive”. There will be bespoke sections of showrooms, a personal concierge for owners and lifetime washes and vacuums for their new car.
“Ford Vignale premium services will meet the needs of the customer for whom time is the ultimate luxury,” said Gaetano Thorel, marketing vice president, Ford of Europe. Price-wise, a premium of 10 per cent over current top-spec cars is likely. That would bring the Mondeo to around £30,000 – roughly the same as a BMW 320d Sport.