Would You Buy This Fancy Ford Fusion?

Ford unveiled the Mondeo Vignale Concept this week. The Mondeo is Ford's European version of the Fusion, and "Vignale" is a new super-premium trim that will be available on several Fords in Europe. Photo credit: Ford Motor Co.

Would you buy a super-fancy Ford Fusion?

It's a question that Ford (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 models -- and that comes with VIP treatment at Ford dealers, among other perks.

Ford 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 is creating a new luxury brand for Europe, using its existing model line.

Deluxe detailing is meant to give the Vignale models a distinctive, upscale look. Photo credit: Ford Motor Co.

Ford'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'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.

The Mondeo Vignale's interior is more opulent than even those of top-line Fusions. Photo credit: Ford Motor Co.

It also comes with a special level of service at selected Ford dealers, a "VIP" experience inspired by those being offered by airlines and banks and other businesses that cater to the well-heeled. Dealers will have a special area just for Vignale customers, and will offer services like free pick-up and delivery of cars that need service, free car washes for life, and some special events to make owners feel, well, special.

It all sounds a little surreal. So why does Ford think this is a good idea?

Why Ford thinks the Vignale concept will work
Ford said in a statement that the Vignale idea "responds to an increasing trend toward time-saving services, and reflects demand for high-end Ford products. Higher specification models currently account for more than half of Ford's large car sales in Europe."

The name and details may be new but, like I said, this isn't a completely new idea for Ford. Have you ever seen an F-150 Limited? Ford's F-150 pickup starts at a little over $24,000 for a bare-bones model, but the top-of-the-line Limited trim – which gives you special chrome trim and luxury-car-like features and interior -- starts at $53,300. It's a nice truck, and a very nice source of profits for Ford -- and a strategy that General Motors, among others, has begun to copy.

Here in the U.S., Ford aims to capture premium buyers with its Titanium trim line -- but if you want an even more deluxe Ford product, you'll have to stop by your Lincoln dealer. Ford doesn't sell Lincolns in Europe, and trying to get it established against brands like BMW and Audi on their home turf isn't likely to go well.

Vignale is aimed at a little different audience: Ford buyers who are willing and able to pay up for a premium experience. That could end up being a good move for Ford in Europe, where the company has been pushing hard to increase its earnings, if these Vignale cars appeal to luxury-minded buyers. Will they? We'll find out.

So what do you think? Would you buy something like a Vignale-trimmed Fusion here in the U.S., or do you think Ford should stick to basics? Scroll down to leave a comment, and let me know.

The new Vignale concept is just one part of Ford's strategy for increasing earnings in Europe -- one of several key things that need to fall into place before Ford's stock can soar. In The Motley Fool's special free report entitled, "5 Secrets to Ford's Future," we outline the key factors every Ford investor needs to watch. Just click here now for your free report.


Read/Post Comments (22) | Recommend This Article (14)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 10:46 AM, Captainraven wrote:

    This is the road back to the Lincoln brand, I hope Ford studies the possibility of bringing these ideas to North America. These cars could give Cadillac real competition.

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 10:57 AM, sabebrush6 wrote:

    I for one, am glad to seem some chrome making it's way back onto the cars. They looked awfully baron with no chrome. Helps identify them so they don't all look the same with just different logo badges.

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 11:00 AM, BigFED wrote:

    The one shortcoming I see with this "Trim" package is there seems to be NOTHING about increased performance!!! With almost EVERY one of Fords (and other manufacturers) upgrade packages, there is at least a small performance increase, whether power and/or handling! F-150, bigger engine, more HP, increased towing, etc., Taurus SHO, NOT your granny's Taurus, EcoBoost, SOMETHING under the hood!!!

    For some one to move up to this "package" there has to be more than "Gee, it looks better!" There has to be a "get you there" faster factor. Can't rely on lipstick alone!!!

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 11:20 AM, RRealityCheck wrote:

    "Super-premium Ford?" An oxymoron if there ever was one.

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 11:23 AM, bcweir wrote:

    Here's what I want to know. If Ford can't even get LINCOLN right, what makes you think mainstream FORD customers are going to get treated right?

    Ford's problem is they assume Lincoln buyers are 70 years old.

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 11:30 AM, blugeens wrote:

    Looks like a copy of 1955 Czech TATRA. HE,HE.

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 11:32 AM, JHoustonFord wrote:

    I think the Vignale trim line is a great idea! I have seen and driven the Titanium Fusion, a fantastic looking vehicle, extreamly well built, appointed, sound, and quiet; pun intended. I have driven a Jaguar for years and have been accumulating Ford stock when others questioned the investment. I am extremely proud of our Great American Ford Motor Company, and an investment in the company or its vehicles, is an investment in America, and the pride and future of American manufacturing. When I replace one of my current vehicles, a Vignale Energi Fusion would look quite nice next to my Jag!

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 11:40 AM, M12Bolt wrote:

    I still laugh at the Taurus debacle in Europe. At least this time around, Ford brings in a vehicle that can pass a bicycle.

    Now, back to the question. When I see Ford and Premium in the same sentence, I start wondering if those same marketing morons are still alive.

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 11:53 AM, thiscantbetrue wrote:

    The only way I'd buy it is if it was MADE in the USA. Not made in messyhole and assembled in the USA...but MADE in the USA. Ford and all other automakers get their money (the vast majority of it) from AMERICANS...so that's where the jobs should go. Right now, they've joined the current day slave owners with employment shipped to slave labor nations and I won't support anything but AMERICAN jobs with my AMERICAN dollars. I don't give a fat baby's behind WHAT the hype is. My American dollars go to support AMERICAN jobs.

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 11:59 AM, dracky wrote:

    They tried this in America, and it was called "Mercury". That didn't go very well.

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 12:16 PM, ColoradoJordy wrote:

    So, what was (the now defunct) Mercury brand all about?..looks like they shuttered it a bit to quickly.

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 1:14 PM, HOWARD0007 wrote:

    I would never consider any Ford or Ford Moter product

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 1:34 PM, jims1950 wrote:

    looks like a winner to me. I would like one.

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 1:54 PM, Autoknowtive wrote:

    Encroaches on the Lincoln brand...and this has always been a Ford corporate short-coming. Ford Motor Execs need to make a decision -- either dump Lincoln and continue with the high-level (high profit margin) luxury trim for Ford vehicles or put a ceiling on the trim levels a Ford can have to reserve premium trim levels exclusively for Lincoln vehicles. Without a decision like this, Lincoln will always struggle to be recognized as a true premium luxury brand.

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 3:36 PM, rankin81 wrote:

    They are doing this in Europe because the Lincoln brand is failing and at this point couldn't ever get started over there. The Ford name is already established around the world. Its a very nice car, but Ford would only be competing against itself (Lincoln) here in the states.

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 4:58 PM, cllarkins wrote:

    Ford needs to apply this to the Lincoln to move it more upscale. Right now the Lincolns feel to much like the ford products.

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 5:23 PM, Cody700 wrote:

    Ford will be doing this but I believe they will be doing this as an introduction to the new Lincoln Motor Car Company. A way to separate themselves in their image from Ford. Ford has fixed its base and it going to take it all the way up the scale. Lincoln will return to greatness within a few years, no doubt about it.

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 5:31 PM, Lew3555 wrote:

    Buy this model? Hell, I can't even afford a stripped down model. Who is Ford building these cars for? It sure isn't the average Joe. When will car companies realize that not everyone is rich, and can't afford cars like this. I'm on a fixed income ( retired ), and can't even dream about buying anything like this. When will car companies build an affordable MIDSIZE car that retirees can afford? I guess NEVER.

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 5:50 PM, kogified wrote:

    i own a Ford Fusion Hybrid, & i adore it!!! this trim makes it sexy as hell. However, the name plate under the grill Vignale is AWFUL, I don't even want a damn license plate on the front of my car let alone this "thing" - get rid of it. It lowers the class quotient quite a bit. Listen, I know what I'm talking about, I've been a car lover since utero for God's sake, and I love good sleek clean design, classic or future fast looks excite, but a dog tag around a car's neck is just not necessary!

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 8:59 PM, Proab wrote:

    Still a fusion, fancy it up all you want,

  • Report this Comment On September 07, 2013, at 9:52 PM, enginear wrote:

    The Lincoln-Ford question is valid. If they have a strategy up their sleeve, its not obvious.

    Mercedes sells expensive and (relatively - the image isn't the same in Europe) reasonably priced models under the same name... maybe Ford can too.

    Generally I like everything Ford has done lately. I am interested to see how this goes.

  • Report this Comment On September 08, 2013, at 12:46 AM, drosera88 wrote:

    I think the big problem here is image. Lincoln is just more often than not, thought of as an old-person car. GM is having the same problems with Buick. There's nothing that really sets Lincoln apart aside from it being "that other American luxury car brand that isn't Cadillac."

    I think that what really makes the new Fusion so popular is also what made Cadillac do leaps and bounds over it's rival Lincoln: the styling.

    Ford needs to be a bit more daring look of Lincoln. I was really hoping that with the new "Aston Martin-esque" look of Fords, that we'd be getting some awesome looking eye-candy out of Lincoln. Instead we just have the same waterfall grille we've seen for so many years. Not to mention the outward styling of grille/headlights really makes it look like someone just took a Honda Civic or Kia with a custom grille insert.

    Speaking of Kia, have you taken a gander at the 2014 Kia Cadenza? It's almost a spitting image of the new Ford Fusion.

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