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S-Max Vignale continues Ford's push upmarket

By raccars Published

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Ford has chosen Milan Design Week to introduce the second model from its Vignale higher end sub brand. The S-Max follows the Mondeo in getting the upmarket concept treatment, which is part of a challenge by the blue oval brand to its premium rivals.

Ford describes the Vignale badge as not just a premium product but also an 'ownership experience' for European customers. Apart from the practical upgrades to the range topping models, Vignale model owners will have access to 'VIP' lounges in larger Ford dealerships in Europe and a special customer liaison officer. After sales special treatment includes a collection and delivery arrangement for servicing and repairs.

Vignale upgrades to the S-Max include soft touch seat upholstery in quilted leather, plus leather trim to the fascia and centre console. Other trim is finished in a unique textured aluminium. Docking stations for tablet computers are standard kit. The exterior is distinguishable by Vignale specific hexagonal grille, 21 inch wheels, aluminium trim and a bespoke paint colour, named 'Milano Grigio'.

Ford has yet to announce prices or technical specifics but plans to release a production version of the S-Max Vignale. It will follow the customer release of the Mondeo Vignale in 2015.

The company claims it has followed modern trends in fashion and furniture design to come up with the S-Max Vignale. The brief is 'modern luxury,' meaning understated and a high quality finish to details. Ford believes its Vignale models are more sophisticated than its customers are used to.

The introduction of the Vignale brand is a response to research showing that 50% of Ford customers opt for its current highest trim level, particularly for larger models. Furthermore, 10-15% of customers are prepared to spend more for another, higher specification and a more comprehensive customer service policy.

The company has been working hard to fulfil the brief. Last month a new, range topping Titanium X Sport trim level was introduced for the Kuga SUV model. Four out of five Kuga buyers already choose the top level Titanium and Titanium X trim levels, so Ford has fitted some extra features. The standard Titanium X specification includes leather seats, heated seats at the front and a panoramic glass roof. The Titanium X Sport builds upon these with 19 inch alloy wheels, racy bodykit, integrated satellite navigation, a rear parking camera, autonomous parking system and tinted rear windows.

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