Ford introduced a new sub-brand at the Frankfurt auto show this week. It’s called Vignale, named for a revered Italian coachbuilder.
Since Ford doesn’t sell the Lincoln brand in Europe, Vignale will do the job that Lincoln does here -- appeal to Europe’s version of the “progressive luxury” customers Lincoln hopes to win here.
The first Vignale vehicle, appearing in 2015, will be the Mondeo, which is named Fusion in the United States. Ford showed two versions: sedan and wagon.
Seeing the Mondeo Vignale concept got me dreaming about some fantasy vehicles Ford and Lincoln could offer in the future by taking advantage of the sharing that’s possible with global platforms. These are make-believe vehicles only, but the possibilities seem quite real under the global One Ford plan.
Feel free to suggest your own ideas. Here are a few others:
Lincoln Point Reyes: Borrowing the European station wagon version of the Mondeo Vignale and giving it the new signature spread-wing grille, Lincoln hits white space in the market by making a luxury wagon that falls somewhere between a shooting brake and an Audi Allroad. The Point Reyes neatly complements the MKC compact crossover to give Lincoln a strong one-two punch in the heart of the redefined luxury market.
Ford Fusion TDCi ST: Ford adapts the Mondeo hatchback for the U.S. market to make the hottest Fusion yet, a Euro-style performance diesel worthy of the ST badge. Kitted out with blacked out grille and wheels, a spoiler and the hottest version of Ford’s 2.0-liter Duratorq high-pressure common-rail diesel engine, the Fusion TDCi ST is a rocket sled for torque lovers and those who love flexible hatchback space and fuel economy.
Ford C-Max D Hybrid: Ford expands the C-Max’s role as a fuel economy leader by offering a diesel hybrid version, a North American first. With the C-Max D, Ford combines its best powertrain expertise from two continents: hybrid systems from the U.S. and diesels from Europe. Fuel economy hits north of 60 mpg.
Lincoln Continental: Lincoln scuttles its MK nomenclature and revives a nameplate from its glorious past to create a flagship for the new century. The Continental is a sophisticated all-wheel-drive full-sized sedan based on a stretched version of the Taurus-MKS platform.
Lincoln brings back the suicide doors that set the Continental apart in the 1960s, but with a twist. The new Continental has rear doors that open 180 degrees, solving the old ingress-egress puzzle of the rear-opening door. The elegant, spacious sedan should be a hit in China, where ample rear-seat legroom is de riguer. Then Lincoln follows with a coup, offering a stunning, limited edition four-door convertible version.
Transit Connect Wagon Patagonia Edition: Ford partners with the Patagonia outdoor clothing and equipment brand to take its Swiss Army knife commercial van platform in a new direction, producing an affordable, go-anywhere, all-purpose camper van with a compact, stowaway stove, fold-out bed setup in the back and a roof that lifts to allow occupants to stand up to full height. Powered by a four-cylinder diesel engine, this van updates the Volkswagen Camper Van idea for a new century.