Ford of Europe has been pushing – part of a drive to end losses in the region – for the introduction of a higher margin upscale trim line, the Vignale – a drive to add a larger business customer base.
Set to premiere this year in September on the new generation of the midsize Mondeo, the Vignale has premium-like features that Ford forecasts would attract business buyers, which could opt out of a similarly priced, but overall less equipped and smaller premium model. Ford is not the first to offer cars with certain upscale features, as the carmakers are pressured to lift profit margins in the ailing European region and have been squeezed by luxury automakers that introduced more affordable choices and models. Ford wants the Vignale Mondeo to gain customers in the midsize segment from the BMW 3 series, the best selling model in the class, the Audi A4 and the recently reworked Mercedes-Benz C class and VW Passat.
Roelant de Waard, the Ford of Europe sales and marketing boss, says the Vignale Mondeo will offer enough high-end features to lure buyers away from a premium rival and lease rates to companies for the model would be a match for the German premium competitors. Additionally, the variant will have increased residual values due to Ford’s decision to massively restrict deliveries to low-profit customers – rental car companies, for example. After launching last month the new generation Mondeo in key European markets last month, the Vignale trim will be offered later on this year – the cars are built on the same lines as the normal Mondeo at the plant in Valencia, Spain.
Via Automotive News Europe