Ford has a bit of a history in reviving the names of old coachbuilders it has long since gobbled up and using them to distinguish its top-of-the-line models in Europe. That's what it did for years with Ghia, and after having replaced it several years ago with the Titanium trim level, now it's doing it again with Vignale.

At the Frankfurt Motor Show last year, Ford revealed the Mondeo Vignale concept in both sedan and wagon body-styles, which are set to reach production next year. But before they do, the Blue Oval automaker is at it again, applying similar upgrades to the S-Max minivan and unveiling it in concept form in Milan this week.

Setting the Vignale concept apart from any other S-Max is its Milano Grigio rose-hued silver pearlescent paint, 21-inch alloys, chrome trim and hexagonal-pattern grille. Inside it's all ultra-soft quilted leather and aluminum trim, with tablet docking stations in the back and thinner, more flexible seats than the existing production version.

The S-Max Vignale concept is being showcased in Ford's Vignale Lounge at the Salone del Mobile during Milan Design Week alongside a line of award-winning Vignale fashion accessories. Ford has already confirmed, however, that (like the Mondeo) a production version will follow. In the meantime you can scope out the details in the press release below for more.
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FORD UNVEILS S‑MAX VIGNALE CONCEPT IN MILAN

- Ford introduces S‑MAX Vignale Concept in Milan, expanding the Ford Vignale vision of creating a unique upmarket product and ownership experience
- Inspired by trends from furniture and fashion, the S-MAX Vignale Concept features distinctive 21-inch alloy wheels; dark-chromed polished aluminium detailing; special Vignale grille; quilted, premium leather seats and an exclusive exterior colour called "Milano Grigio"
- A production version of S-MAX Vignale is planned and will be the second Ford Vignale vehicle to go on sale in Europe after the new Ford Mondeo Vignale reaches customers next year
- Select Ford retailers throughout Europe will create "Vignale Lounges"

MILAN, Italy, April 8, 2014 – Ford Motor Company unveiled the new Ford S‑MAX Vignale Concept today in Milan as it continues to expand its vision for a unique upmarket product and ownership experience for European customers.

The new Ford S-MAX Vignale Concept follows the introduction last year of the Ford Mondeo Vignale Concept and expresses the premium design, craftsmanship, and exclusive specification customers can expect from Ford Vignale. A production version of the Mondeo Vignale will be available to customers next year followed by a production S-MAX Vignale.

"Spacious and aspirational, the S-MAX Vignale Concept goes beyond traditional automotive design and speaks to customers who value aesthetics," said Martin Smith, executive director, Design, Ford of Europe. "Our Vignale designers were inspired by trends from furniture to fashion to create this new expression of Ford."

In addition to revealing the S-MAX Vignale in Milan, Ford is showcasing its vision for the Vignale consumer experience this week at the Salone del Mobile, the world's leading furniture design expo. The design of the Ford stand at Salone del Mobile is a preview of the "Vignale Lounge" retail experience that will be rolled out in select Ford retailers throughout Europe. Ford also will display a Vignale lifestyle collection, including a bespoke travel bag that was awarded an iF Design award.

The personalised experience customers can expect when Vignale launches in Europe in 2015 will include a dedicated relationship manager, as well as VIP collection and delivery services.

Unique product execution

The new S-MAX Vignale Concept features dedicated 21-inch Vignale alloy wheels with fine detailing and high quality finish; jewellery-like appliques and chrome mirror caps; a distinctive hexagonal Vignale grille design; and unique "Milano Grigio" paint colour. The S-MAX concept also offers exclusive Vignale-embossed seating with hexagonal quilting and high-quality and soft-touch leather enhanced with woven texture-embossed aluminium detailing.

Technology highlights include advanced car-to-car communications, tablet device-docking stations for second row seats and an intelligent flexible seating concept with thin seat technology.

The S-MAX Vignale Concept delivers a new take on S-MAX's sharply styled, sleek exterior, characteristic profile and dynamic roof arc.

The new Vignale colour, "Milano Grigio", a pearlescent jewel-like tone, is directly influenced by rose metallic tones evident in furniture and fashion designs on display at Salone del Mobile. The attention to colour runs throughout the vehicle with Dark Rose Grey detailing in the exhausts, hexagonal air-vent surrounds, and the lower front fascia.

The technical grille application with hexagonal design first demonstrated with the Mondeo Vignale Concept is again present for the S-MAX Vignale Concept. The grille features a darker matt metallic finish with polished aluminium surround.

"We can see from the designs around us at Salone del Mobile and Milan Design Week that modern luxury does not need to be loud," said Stefan Lamm, exterior design director, Ford of Europe. "Lighter tones and careful application of detailing have helped us deliver a level of sophistication Ford customers have not seen before."

Tailored design

The light exterior is matched with a darker interior scheme taking inspiration in part from current menswear trends. Further colours and design have been inspired by eclectic takes on furniture – including high-end sofas – which offer sleek, contemporary lines and hand-stitched pearlescent leathers.

Leather extends from the dashboard and instrument panel to sweep past the glass roof to the rear luggage compartment in a single colour that creates a lounge-like environment.

Metallic textures are applied in warm tones. Woven texture-embossed aluminium behind the steering wheel and across the passenger side dashboard is indicative of the craftsmanship applied throughout, further demonstrated by a directional, brush-painted panel above the central display that features aluminium Vignale lettering.

The seats feature a new variation on the quilting effect first demonstrated in the Mondeo Vignale Concept. Front seats and outer rear seats feature hexagonal quilting bordered with square quilting that stretches across the centre-rear seat and front armrest. "Tone-on-tone" stitching with thick dark red thread highlight the seat centres and is complemented by lighter exterior thread at the seats' perimeters.

"The tonal connections and the quality of craftsmanship and detailing inject a sense of tradition into the S‑MAX Vignale Concept," said Sonja Vandenberk, chief designer, Colour and Material, Ford of Europe. "The design language itself is on the cusp of the latest fashion and furniture trends, reflecting inspirations in terms of fabrics, leathers, colours and detailing."

Meeting customer demand

Ford said half of its large cars are sold in high series specification; and that 10 to 15 percent of customers want an even higher level of specification and customer service.

"We know that many customers are looking for a Ford that's more exclusive and upscale than we currently offer in Europe," said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford of Europe. "The other key trend is the desire for a more memorable and personalised ownership experience that is tailored to individuals and respects their time. Vignale will meet these needs in a fresh way."

Ford research shows more than one third of premium brand car buyers consider high levels of customer service a key difference between a mainstream and upmarket experience. The research also revealed that sales staff competence and efficiency are the two biggest influencers of customer satisfaction. And showroom appearance and quality of hospitality are two of the top three factors that influence customer expectations of a brand.

Ford will provide a specially-trained relationship manager as the single customer contact throughout the Vignale purchasing experience. Reflecting the notion that for Vignale customers, time is the most valued resource, Vignale will offer collection and delivery for vehicle servicing alongside servicing scheduled to suit the owner.

"Vignale Lounges" in select Ford dealerships, mostly in metropolitan locations, will be dedicated to delivering a personalised service. The "Vignale Lounge" will offer stimulating, secluded environments to sample exclusive materials and colours and discover exciting features and technologies. It will reflect the quality to be found within the product and provide customers with a relaxing environment.

"Vignale offers a special product and the intangible qualities that allow the customer to feel differently about the experience," Roelant said. "The convenience offered by personalised delivery, collection for servicing will make Vignale a valued part of customers' lives."

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 181,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information about Ford and its products worldwide please visit www.corporate.ford.com.

Ford of Europe is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 50 individual markets and employs approximately 47,000 employees at its wholly owned facilities and approximately 67,000 people when joint ventures and unconsolidated businesses are included. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 22 manufacturing facilities (13 wholly owned or consolidated joint venture facilities and nine unconsolidated joint venture facilities). The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 – the same year Ford Motor Company was founded. European production started in


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      KaBoomBOX
      • 8 Months Ago
      S-Max over the Flex any day, Vignale version or not.
      jasondonogh
      • 8 Months Ago
      Cool, sell it in the U.S. and call it the Lincoln MKX or Ford Flex.
      herrstreet
      • 8 Months Ago
      Put the 2.3 eccoboost in it and awd. It would make a better SHO than the SHO does.
      piggybox
      • 8 Months Ago
      looks better than every other minivans on the market
      Cool people
      • 8 Months Ago
      Flex in US should be replaced with this S Max. But re-named
        bootsnchaps60
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Cool people
        Yep, S Max could be too easily shortened to Smax. Of course, then there could be the Sugar Smax edition...
      graphikzking
      • 8 Months Ago
      Smax cmax.. Where is the e max? And slk max a convertible version :) This does look very attractive for a minivan/SUV merger. If they made it get at least 32mpg combined and $34000 nicely equipped I'd buy one.(not fully loaded obviously)
      aruca2526
      • 8 Months Ago
      Why is diamond stitched leather the "upscale" rage? It's so gaudy. Just slap a vinyl roof on and some wire wheels and call it a Brougham.
        Skylar Ross Toups
        • 8 Months Ago
        @aruca2526
        I think it looks great in moderation, but slapping in on every surface (like the center armrest/storage bin) is booshie.