In preparation of the upcoming Frankfurt Auto Show, Ford of Europe has announced and released images of a study in personalization on the basis of the current Ford Mondeo: the Vignale Concept.
This generation of Mondeo, closely related to the US-spec Ford Fusion, has been on the market for a year already and represents the biggest and highest sedan offering for the Blue Oval’s European division. Indeed, Ford exited the full-size class in 1998 with the demise of the “executive class” Ford Scorpio and hasn’t returned since, leaving to the German manufacturers a niche that has been badly hurt by soaring gas prices and the success of crossovers.
While it doesn’t involve any mechanical or substantial cosmetic modification, the Vignale treatment should bring the Mondeo nameplate upmarket: special interior fittings, high quality leather, lots of chrome, and a special dealer experience round up the list of modifications.
Interestingly enough, while Ford emblems remain all Mondeo badging has been removed, which brings many commentators to talk of a “sub-brand”. Ford itself has announced that the label would be rolled out on the next generation S-Max and other models to come.
This strategy can be linked to that of Lincoln with the recently released Black Label series: distinguishing and building up brand identity through the use of high added-value trimmings and a dedicated dealer experience. The technique, which should prove popular in China for Lincoln, seems to be attributed to the main Ford brand in Europe. Indeed, given the market structure there, there seem to be no plans for Lincoln there.
It should be noted that in the late 1990s and early 2000s, after the demise of Scorpio, Ford of Europe already tried to bring the midsize first-generation, second-phase Mondeo upmarket to battle against other luxury offerings from mainstream manufacturers: the Elance edition of the Mondeo came with plush interior trim, special badging and a set of bespoke items such as an umbrella and a binded user manual among others.
Photo credit: Ford Motor Company