Advertisement

“History doesn’t bode well for Ford's Vignale luxury brand"

Steve Fowler questions whether Ford dealers can adapt to the needs of premium car buyers with the upmarket Vignale sub-brand

Opinion Ford Vignale

Fair play to Ford for giving it a go. You can understand why it’s decided to give its new, upmarket Vignale models the green light – it was selling so many Titanium X models, it’d be rude not to offer buyers a bit more in the way of luxury kit.

Advertisement - Article continues below

• Ford Mondeo Vignale review

But did it need to go as far as to pretend that Vignale could be a standalone brand sold in its own unique way? I say pretend, because you’ll still be buying your Vignale from a Ford dealer. Only a select bunch will sell the cars with specially trained advisors in plush new surroundings, but they’re still Ford dealers.

And in our latest Driver Power dealer survey, Ford owners ranked their dealers 27th out of 32. Not a great place to start (although to be fair, Audi dealers were in 26th place…).

• Best car manufacturers 2015

History doesn’t bode well for Ford selling its new luxury brand in this way. Renault did a similar thing with its upmarket Vel Satis and Avantime models some years ago. And Lexus quickly cottoned on to the fact that it couldn’t be a serious player in the premium sector if it was selling its cars from within Toyota showrooms. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

The folk at the new upmarket DS brand from Peugeot/Citroen will be watching all this eagerly because, guess what? Yup, DS is launching from the corner of a Citroen showroom near you (23rd place in our Driver Power dealer survey).

Of course, all these brands will tell you that you don’t have to visit the dealers – they’ll bring the car to you to try, and collect it if it needs attention. So why bother spending all that cash on a cosy corner? Ah yes, car makers have to keep their dealers happy.

How about asking customers how they want to buy? The dealer experience is rarely enjoyed by car buyers. These new brands have a great opportunity to change things – it’s such a shame they don’t seem to be grabbing it.

Do you think mainstream brands like Ford can succeed with premium sub-brands like Vignale? Let us know what you think...

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'
Kia

'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'

With Kia winning the World Car of the Year 2020 award with the American-built Telluride, Mike Rutherford believes Kia has beaten Jeep at their own gam…
18 Apr 2020
'Costs may drop, but buyers’ expectations don’t'
News

'Costs may drop, but buyers’ expectations don’t'

Just because premium brands can offer cheap finance deals, it doesn't mean that they can fob buyers off with poor customer service, says Deputy editor…
15 Apr 2020
“UK motor industry – your country and its people need you”
News

“UK motor industry – your country and its people need you”

Mike Rutherford thinks the motor industry can still do more to help provide life-saving medical kit
12 Apr 2020
‘What better than a thumbs-up from an existing owner?’
News

‘What better than a thumbs-up from an existing owner?’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler gives his view on our 2020 Driver Power survey, and is especially pleased by Kia's success
8 Apr 2020

Most Popular

New 2020 Ford Puma ST teased for the first time
Ford Puma

New 2020 Ford Puma ST teased for the first time

The sporty new Ford Puma ST will make its debut later this year, with the same 197bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine as the Fiesta ST
3 Jul 2020
BMW to make extras like heated seats subscription based options
News

BMW to make extras like heated seats subscription based options

New software update for models with iDrive 7 also includes automatic switching to electric power in city centres for plug-in hybrid models
2 Jul 2020
New Skoda Octavia vRS line-up completed as petrol and diesel models arrive
Skoda Octavia vRS Hatchback

New Skoda Octavia vRS line-up completed as petrol and diesel models arrive

Skoda has unwrapped the complete Octavia line-up, which now offers a choice of petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid powertrains
3 Jul 2020