Ford’s new Vignale high end specification will help the brand compete with Volkswagen but Ford of Britain boss Mark Ovenden insists the Blue Oval in not moving upmarket.
As a volume carmaker, customer perceptions of the Ford brand are behind rivals like Volkswagen.
Ovenden said: “We are stretching the brand not picking it up and moving it.
"The perception of Mondeo, for example, is much lower than quality of the product itself. We want to sell Fords for what you get on them, not what you get off them.”
Ovenden believes there is room for the Vignale model in the Ford range due to the large percentage of Ford customers who spec their cars to the highest level. Higher specification models currently account for more than half of Ford’s large car sales in Europe.
Vignale models will be priced close to ST versions but with the emphasis on service and equipment rather than performance. Mondeo will be the first model to feature the luxury trim in early 2015 and it will be sold through selected specialist dealers in the UK.
The specification will then be extended to other models in the Ford range.
Ford announced its intention to launch Vignale in September this year and said the project was inspired by exclusive services from beyond the world of automotive.
These include VIP air-travel services that offer chauffeuring, dedicated check-in and security and clubhouse access; and exclusive banking and credit card services with dedicated relationship managers, reward points, concierge services and partner brands such as hotel chains, restaurants and entertainment venues.
Ford has not yet made it clear what additional services specialist dealers will be expected to offer in the UK.
Gaetano Thorel, Marketing vice president, Ford of Europe, said: “Ford Vignale premium services will meet the needs of the customer for whom time is the ultimate luxury.”