Would you buy a super-fancy Ford Fusion?
It’s a question that Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) will soon be asking in Europe. Ford this past week unveiled what it said is “a unique upscale product and ownership experience in Europe called Vignale.”
What does that mean? It’s a super-fancy trim line that will soon be available on several Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) models — and that comes with VIP treatment at Ford dealers, among other perks.
Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) released photos of the Vignale version of its upcoming new Mondeo, the European version of the Fusion sedan. It’s an interesting idea that might do well in Europe.
But would it ever work in the U.S.?
A new super-premium line of Fords – and a VIP experience for buyers
First, let’s explain where the name – pronounced “vin-YA-le,” by the way — came from. Carrozzeria Vignale was an old-school Italian “coachbuilder” — a company that made custom car bodies to order — that Ford acquired many years ago.
Ford has used the “Vignale” name on various luxury-minded concepts aimed at Europe over the years. But this is a whole new thing: Essentially, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is creating a new luxury brand for Europe, using its existing model line.
Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s top-trim level for the Fusion in the U.S. is called “Titanium,” and it’s pretty fancy. It includes nice leather seats, a sophisticated sound system, and a lot of features normally associated with luxury cars. A Fusion Titanium costs quite a bit more than a base model — the Titanium starts at $30,500, versus $21,900 for a bare-bones Fusion — but it includes a lot more content.
It also means — and this is significant — a lot more profit for Ford. Ford has had terrific profit margins here in North America in recent quarters, and appealing options packages have made a big contribution to Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s bottom line.
Vignale takes things one big step beyond the European equivalent of Ford’s Titanium models in terms of luxury and personal service. And while Ford hasn’t yet announced pricing for the Vignale models, it’s likely to be one big step up in terms of profits, as well.
Here’s what makes the Vignale models special
So, what does a Vignale Mondeo include that a Titanium model doesn’t? An even more plush interior, for starters, with special seats, quilted trim, and lots of high-quality soft leather. Outside, there are special wheels, chrome door handles and other trim touches, and distinctive “Vignale” badges so that your neighbors get the message: This isn’t just an ordinary Ford.