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Ford luxes up the Mondeo with new Vignale line, featuring a more upscale appearance, list of equipment and customer experience for premium European buyers.

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History has a way of repeating itself, especially in the auto industry. When Jaguar was owned by Ford, the British brand attempted to field a competitor for the BMW 3 Series, called the X-Type. Based on the bones of a Ford Mondeo, it aped the styling of Jaguar's flagship model, the XJ, while borrowing liberally from the Ford parts bin. That was 2001.

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Back in the day, Vignale was a carrozzeria of the highest order, alongside the likes of Pininfarina, Bertone and Zagato. But like Giugiaro-ItalDesign and Ghia, it has since been subsumed into a larger auto group. Ford ended up with it under its umbrella when it took over De Tomaso, and has since used the moniker for a number of concept cars. Now the name is back in the form of a new upscale sub-brand for the European market.

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Ford says that 10-15 percent of its customers in Europe want their cars to be set apart from regular Fords - even those wearing the top Titanium X trim - and the Blue Oval will answer them with the Vignale sub-brand. The new brand proposes a more upscale look and a much-improved dealership experience, Autocar reports. The Vignale Mondeo will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show to kick off the new endeavor.

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