Ford Kuga Vignale Concept escapes to higher ground

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To vie for upscale customers overseas, Ford doesn't have Lincoln, it has the Vignale line. The Mondeo (known to us as the Fusion) has been the only model to date to get the luxury treatment, but that all changes here in Geneva, where Ford has arrived with several new production models to bolster the Vignale range – and came with a new concept as well.

What you're looking at is called the Ford Kuga Vignale Concept, but it's essentially the European version of the new Escape we saw in LA – with some lipstick on – now marking its European debut in Kuga form. Ford resisted the temptation to blow it up bigger, but fitted it with new sheetmetal to look more like the larger Edge (which is now reaching Europe as well) and equipped it with new feature like the latest Sync 3 infotainment system. To dress up the Vignale version, the automaker sprayed it with a special coat of Palazzo Pearl and fitted it with dark chrome and gloss black exterior trim. Where it really stands out, however, is inside, where Ford has swaddled it in high-end leather – geometrically quilted and top stitched – complemented by Alcantara trim, frock-lined storage compartments, and other high-end touches.

Think that's all a little over the top for a Ford Escape? Maybe it would be on this side of the Atlantic, but rest assured that they haven't lost their minds at Ford's European headquarters in Cologne. The automaker reports that four out of every five Kugas it sold last year were specified in the top Titanium trim, suggesting that there's still room to nudge it further up-market. So don't be surprised to see it approved for production. In the meantime, Ford is expanding its Vignale lineup with upscale versions of the S-Max minivan, Edge crossover, and Mondeo wagon to join the existing sedan, all featuring a similarly luxurious treatment – but with a Blue Oval on the nose instead of a Lincoln badge.
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Ford Unveils Advanced, Sporty and Efficient New Kuga SUV with SYNC 3, Expanding Ford's European SUV Range

- New Ford Kuga sport utility vehicle makes European motor show debut with SYNC 3 connectivity, hands-free parking in side-by-side spaces and enhanced Active City Stop
- Technologically advanced Kuga on show in Geneva is one of five all-new or redesigned Ford vehicles that will compete in the SUV and crossover space in the next three years
- Bold and sporty exterior features new trapezoidal grille, new headlights incorporating LED daytime running lights, and new colours Guard Grey and vibrant Copper Pulse
- New 120 PS 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine expected to deliver improved fuel efficiency; Ford Intelligent All Wheel Drive enhances grip, especially in slippery conditions
- Meticulously crafted interior offers simpler controls, and improved comfort with heated steering wheel; Adaptive Front Lighting System tailors Kuga headlight beam to environment
- Ford also reveals new Ford Kuga Vignale Concept, offering a vision of the future of upscale SUVs

Geneva, March 1, 2016 – Ford Motor Company today revealed the new Kuga – offering customers a more technologically advanced, refined and sportier redesign of one of Europe's favourite sport utility vehicles – for the first time at a European motor show.

The sophisticated new Kuga will offer technologies and updates to make driving simpler, safer, more enjoyable and more affordable. These include Ford's new SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system, innovative driver assistance technologies, an ergonomic and comfortable interior and a new 120 PS 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine.

The new Kuga also will offer Ford's Perpendicular Parking technology that helps drivers park hands‑free in spaces alongside other cars; an enhanced version of the Active City Stop collision avoidance system; and Ford's Adaptive Front Lighting System for optimised visibility in low light. Further sophisticated technologies include Hands-Free Liftgate and Ford Intelligent All Wheel Drive.

"New Kuga offers cutting-edge new features and technologies that will help drivers stay connected, comfortable, safe and stylish on the road," said Joe Bakaj, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. "The sophisticated redesign has given Kuga a fresh and modern feel, while SYNC 3 enables drivers to communicate with their vehicle and connected devices in seamless ways that would have seemed impossible just a few years ago."

Ford is launching the new Kuga and the larger Edge SUV this year, after introducing an updated EcoSport last year. Ford is bolstering its SUV line-up just as it has been predicted by industry sales analyst IHS that sales in the SUV segment are poised to increase to 27 percent of all vehicle sales in Europe by 2020.

New Kuga and the Edge are among five all-new or redesigned Ford vehicles that will compete in the SUV and crossover space in the next three years.

Kuga spearheaded the company's SUV expansion for Europe after first going on sale in 2008. Sales increased to a record 102,000 in 2015 – up by 19 per cent compared with 2014*. Ford expects to surpass 200,000 SUV sales in Europe for the first time in 2016 – a growth of more than 30 per cent compared with 2015.

"Ford is delivering a European SUV line-up that offers the stylish design, car‑like dynamics, and sophisticated technologies that consumers desire," Bakaj said. "Demand for SUVs is stronger than ever, and Ford is expanding its range to offer everything from rugged models with true go‑anywhere ability to sporty models designed to suit urban lifestyles."

Also debuting in Geneva is a concept version of a forthcoming Ford Kuga Vignale, offering an insight into the future of Ford luxury SUVs in Europe and featuring unique, upscale design and specification. With the Ford Kuga Vignale, high-specification Kuga Titanium and a sporty Kuga model, Ford will offer its broadest ever Kuga line-up.

The new Ford Kuga will allow drivers to control audio, navigation, and climate functions plus connected smartphones using simple, more conversational voice commands, with Ford's new SYNC 3 connectivity system. Ford has drawn on more than 22,000 comments, and insights gained from research clinics and surveys to ensure the new version is the most customer‑centric system to date.

SYNC 3 delivers faster performance, simplified commands, and supports five additional languages. ** Simply by pushing a button and saying "I need a coffee," "I need petrol," and "I need to park," drivers can locate nearby cafés, petrol stations or car parks, and find train stations, airports, and hotels.

Kuga drivers can operate SYNC 3's 8-inch touchscreen in the same way that they use their smartphones. A new interface features larger, easier to operate buttons and enables pinch and swipe gestures for the first time.

iPhone users can activate Apple CarPlay, the smarter, safer way to use your iPhone in the car allowing drivers to make phone calls, access music, send and receive messages, get directions optimised for traffic conditions, and more while they stay focused on the road. Android™ users can activate Android Auto™. Android Auto makes apps and services that drivers already know and love, accessible in safer and seamless ways including Google Search, Google Maps and Google Play. Software can be updated over-the-air via Wi-Fi.

SYNC 3 also delivers SYNC AppLink for customers, enabling voice-activation from the driver's seat of a range of smartphone apps that for the first time now includes MyBoxMan, HearMeOut, AccuWeather, Cadena Ser and Los 40 Principales.

"Whether you are craving your morning cappuccino on your daily commute or covering the cost of a journey by transporting a package, SYNC 3 brings to life innovative new ways of staying connected on the move," said Christof Kellerwessel, chief engineer, Electronic and Electrical Systems Engineering, Ford of Europe. "Designed to complement modern smartphones, with an intuitive 8‑inch touch screen, SYNC 3 understands more natural speech, is faster, and offers an easier-to-read graphical interface."

Sophisticated technology for simpler parking
The new Ford Kuga will make driving and parking simpler for customers, using sophisticated Ford driver assistance technologies. New Perpendicular Parking functionality enhances the semi-autonomous Active Park Assist technology specified by almost half of Kuga customers last year. Using additional ultrasonic sensors, Perpendicular Parking at the push of a button enables drivers to locate parking spaces alongside other cars as well as parallel to the road, and steers the vehicle into them while the driver controls the accelerator and brake.

Additional sensors enable technologies that also help Kuga drivers as they manoeuvre out of parking spaces:
- Cross Traffic Alert warns drivers reversing out of a parking space of vehicles that may soon be crossing behind them. Operating with radar at a range of up to 40 metres (131 feet), the system issues three warning signals if it detects a vehicle approaching from either side
- Park-Out Assist helps drivers as they exit a parallel parking space. After the driver has chosen either the left or right hand side the system operates the steering while the driver operates the accelerator and brake

New Kuga offers an enhanced version of Ford's Active City Stop collision avoidance system, which now operates at speeds of up to 50 km/h (31 mph), increased from 30 km/h (19 mph). Active City Stop uses sensors at the front of the vehicle to look for stationary objects in the road ahead and pre-charges the brakes if the vehicle is approaching an object too quickly. If the driver still does not respond the system reduces engine torque and automatically applies the brakes to reduce the impact of collisions, or avoid them altogether.

The latest generation Ford MyKey technology allows new Kuga owners to programme a key for younger drivers that can inhibit incoming phone calls; restrict top speed; prevent deactivation of driver assistance and safety features; reduce audio system maximum volume, and disable the audio system altogether if occupants are not using safety belts. The enhanced MyKey system offers a greater number of choices in both the speed limiter and speed minder settings.

Stylish Kuga
The new Kuga features Ford's latest design language for a bold and sporty look that is shared with the EcoSport compact SUV and all-new Edge large SUV. A large upper trapezoidal grille and a smaller lower grille are flanked by sleek new headlamps incorporating LED Daytime Running Lights and complemented by stylish fog lamps.

Restyled taillights complete the sporty look, while a new range of 17- 18- and 19-inch alloy wheel designs also will be available in variety of finishes including Luster Nickel. Two new colours, Guard Grey and the vibrant shade Copper Pulse, will be offered throughout the range. A power-operated retractable tow bar automatically stores itself out of sight below the rear bumper when not in use, to retain the new Kuga's sporty looks.

The new Kuga's meticulously crafted interior has been refined to offer a more ergonomic, stylish and comfortable experience for occupants.

The steering wheel and air-conditioning controls are even more intuitive, and feature fewer and more easily distinguishable buttons and switches, making the controls easier to recognise and navigate. The steering wheel is also offered with heated leather to improve comfort in cold weather, while all automatic new Kuga models will feature paddle-shift controls that enable drivers to manually select gears while keeping their hands on the wheel.

New convenience features make Kuga even more user-friendly; an electronic parking brake is effortless to operate and frees room for improved storage in the centre console, while a door lock indicator will tell drivers at a glance whether the doors are locked.

The New Kuga also offers Hands-Free Liftgate that can be opened or closed using a kicking motion beneath the rear bumper. The technology, which was specified by more than 1-in-3 Kuga customers in Europe last year, helps parents to easily access the boot when returning to their vehicle with shopping, pushchairs or toddlers.

Powerful and fuel-efficient engines
A new 120 PS 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine replaces the outgoing 2.0-litre TDCi. Offered with front-wheel drive, Ford is targeting a fuel efficiency improvement for the new engine of about 5 per cent to 4.4 l/100 km (64.2 mpg) and 115 g/km CO2*** while producing the same power.

Also available will be a 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine with 150 PS in front-wheel drive and Ford Intelligent All Wheel Drive versions that achieve from 4.7 l/100 km (60.1 mpg) and 122 g/km CO2; and a 180 PS Intelligent All Wheel Drive version that delivers from 5.2 l/100 km (54.3 mpg) and 135 g/km CO2.

Ford's 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine in 120 PS or 150 PS front-wheel drive form achieves 6.2 l/100 km (45.6 mpg) and 143 g/km CO2; and a 182 PS Intelligent All Wheel Drive version delivers from 7.4 l/100 km (38.2 mpg) and 171 g/km CO2.

Enhanced visibility and safety
The latest Ford technologies and sophisticated body engineering help drivers see more clearly and enhance safety on the road for new Kuga occupants and other road users.

Ford's Adaptive Front Lighting System is available for the first time on Kuga and monitors ambient light conditions and automatically optimises visibility by adjusting the beam angle of the new bi‑xenon headlights to one of seven settings depending on the vehicle's speed, steering angle and distance to an object in front.

The new Kuga's sculpted bonnet features a wider, uninterrupted central dome that not only serves to complement Kuga's sporty new looks, but also incorporates a structural design that more closely controls deformability and flexibility of the bonnet, improving pedestrian protection in an accident. The bonnet and rear liftgate also have been re-engineered to help mitigate damage to more expensive-to-replace components following a collision.

New Kuga also offers advanced Ford technologies, including:
- Ford Intelligent All Wheel Drive, which adjusts the amount of torque sent to each wheel, optimising handling and traction especially in slippery conditions
- Curve Control, which mitigates against loss of control should a driver enter a bend with too much speed
- Torque Vectoring Control, which enhances the driving experience by applying a small amount of braking to inside wheels to assist traction and stability when cornering

"Sophisticated technologies like our Intelligent All Wheel Drive enhance safety and confidence for our customers," Bakaj said. "Intelligent All Wheel Drive measures how the car's wheels are gripping the road surface and can make adjustments in less than 20 milliseconds – 20 times quicker than it takes to blink."

Kuga Vignale Concept: the future of SUVs
The new Ford Kuga Vignale Concept is presented in Palazzo Pearl – a unique mother of pearl-inspired exterior colour – and finished with tarnished dark paint effect for the front and rear skid plates, foglamp surrounds and door appliques, and with gloss black lower grille and foglamp inserts.

The interior features a unique leather treatment for the seats, doors and instrument panel featuring bespoke tuxedo stitching, with leather extending to the boot floor and tailgate. Window pillar interiors and headliner are enriched with Alcantara material that offers a suede-effect; the glovebox and armrest storage console are flock-lined; and the centre console offers a premium Opale dark grey pearl-effect finish.

Almost 4-in-5 of the record 102,000 Kugas sold in 2015 were high-specification Titanium models, indicating high demand for luxury variants in the SUV segment that is predicted by industry sales analyst IHS to increase to account for 27 per cent of all vehicle sales in Europe by 2020, from 20 per cent in 2014.


Ford Expands Upscale Ford Vignale Line with Four New Models, Exclusive Concierge and Travel Services

- Ford debuts an expanded Ford Vignale product and customer experience including four new models and exclusive services at the Geneva Motor Show
- Ford S-MAX Vignale, Ford Edge Vignale and Ford Mondeo Vignale five-door models debut alongside Ford Kuga Vignale Concept, offering a vision of the future of upscale SUVs
- New tailored personalisation options to offer Ford Vignale customers more opportunities to personalise their vehicles' exterior design
- Ford Vignale customers to benefit from exclusive travel, lifestyle and event offers throughout Europe, from the Chelsea Flower Show to the F1 Monaco Grand Prix
- Brand ambassadors to include trendsetters from fashion and design. Vignale Collection for 2016 includes iPad sleeve and office bag inspired by Ford Vignale craftsmanship and materials

GENEVA, March. 1, 2016 – Ford today at the Geneva Motor Show revealed new Ford Vignale vehicles and exclusive customer services that will enhance the upscale product and ownership experience.

Ford unveiled the new Ford Edge Vignale – the company's first entry into the upscale SUV market in Europe – and the new Ford S-MAX Vignale. Ford will announce prices for the Ford Edge Vignale later this year. The Ford S-MAX Vignale is available to order now.

In addition, revealed for the first time was the Ford Mondeo Vignale five-door model that will go on sale in 2017, and a concept version of a forthcoming Ford Kuga Vignale.

Ford also debuted new design options that from next year will enable customers to further personalise the exterior styling of the Ford Mondeo Vignale and Ford S‑MAX Vignale.

The expanded Ford Vignale model range will be available to order at FordStores across Europe, and at customers' Ford retailer of choice. FordStores incorporate dedicated Vignale Lounges that deliver a personalised purchase experience supported by a Vignale Relationship Manager. Ford already has established 300 FordStores and expects to complete its roll-out of 500 early next year.

Ford also is introducing a new travel, event and lifestyle service that will offer Ford Vignale customers valuable offers and access to travel and lifestyle activities, including hospitality experiences at the Chelsea Flower Show in London and the F1 Monaco Grand Prix, and access to VIP premieres at the Cannes Film Festival.

"Our customers have high aspirations, and they want more from Ford. On some vehicles, our top-of-the-line Titanium specifications make up 70 per cent of all sales," said Jim Farley, Chairman and CEO of Ford of Europe. "With Ford Vignale, we can offer them the absolute best of Ford in terms of luxury and personal service. That's why we are expanding from Ford Mondeo Vignale to our flagship products Edge and S-MAX, with Kuga to come soon after."

The first Ford Vignale brand ambassadors – trailblazers from the worlds of fashion, design arts and technology who will feature in the Ford Vignale online media, print media and digital film launch campaigns – are revealed as:
- Joe Casely-Hayford OBE and Charlie Casely-Hayford – the British father and son team behind the Casely-Hayford fashion label, and designers to the stars
- Kai Petermann – a German designer, digital influencer and founder of online blog

Ford Vignale model range grows stronger
Ford is showing the Ford S-MAX Vignale at Geneva in the exclusive pearlescent-metallic Vignale Milano Grigio exterior colour and in Vignale White Platinum.

The Ford Edge Vignale is shown in a rich metallic brown Vignale Ametista Scura colour, and also in Vignale White Platinum. Both vehicles deliver the signature Ford Vignale hexagonal upper grille design with dark matte finish and polished aluminium surround.

Carefully executed exterior detailing enhances exclusivity, and includes the Ford Edge Vignale's bespoke chrome-finish foglamps; the aluminium, Vignale-embossed wrap-around applique of the Ford S-MAX Vignale's rear liftgate; and 19-inch polished aluminium wheels for both models.

The premium character of the Ford S-MAX Vignale and Ford Edge Vignale interiors is heightened with hexagonal-quilted Windsor leather featuring prominent tuxedo-style stitching for the seats and door interiors, offered in light Cashmere or dark Ebony colours. Ebony leather extends to the central armrest and storage console, and to the instrument panel, which features a woven aluminium applique on the passenger side.

The new Ford Vignale Mondeo model in five-door bodystyle is presented for the first time, following the Ford Mondeo Vignale four-door and wagon models that launched last year. Ford Mondeo Vignale and Ford S-MAX Vignale customers will be offered further customer tailored personalisation options including dark alloy wheels and foglamp surrounds, and exteriors without additional chrome detailing, which are on show for the first time in Geneva.

"Ford Vignale design exudes sophistication and premium sportiness," said Joel Piaskowski, director, Design, Ford of Europe. "For customers, Ford Vignale is a more individualistic way to enjoy luxury and express your style."

The Ford S-MAX Vignale, Ford Edge Vignale and Ford Mondeo Vignale will feature as standard the SYNC 3 communication and entertainment system that delivers faster performance and features a redesigned 8‑inch touch screen that enables pinch and swipe gestures for the first time.

Simply by pushing a button and saying "I need a coffee," "I need petrol," and "I need to park," drivers can find nearby cafés, petrol stations or car parks, as well as locate train stations, airports, and hotels. The system then guides the driver to the selected destination via the navigation.

Further sophisticated technology includes Ford Active Noise Control,* which uses three microphones strategically placed throughout the cabin to monitor engine noise in the interior, and directs opposing sound waves through the audio system to cancel out engine noise and improve cabin ambience. Powerful, fuel efficient engine options include Ford's 210 PS bi-turbo 2.0‑litre TDCi diesel.

Ford Kuga Vignale Concept: the future of SUVs
The Ford Kuga Vignale Concept offers an insight into the future of Ford upscale SUVs in Europe, using as a starting point the Ford Kuga mid-size SUV that is making its European motor show debut in Geneva.

The Ford Kuga Vignale Concept is presented in Vignale Palazzo Pearl – a unique mother of pearl-inspired exterior colour – and finished with tarnished dark paint effect for the front and rear skid plates, foglamp surrounds and door appliques, and with gloss black lower grille and foglamp inserts.

The Ford Kuga Vignale Concept interior features a unique leather treatment for the seats, doors and instrument panel featuring bespoke tuxedo stitching, with leather extending to the boot floor and tailgate interior.

Window pillar interiors and headliner are enriched with Alcantara material that offers a suede-effect; the glovebox and armrest storage console are flock-lined; and the centre console offers a premium Opale dark grey pearl-effect finish.

Almost 4-in-5 of the record 102,000 Kugas sold in 2015 were high-specification Titanium models, indicating high demand for luxury variants in the SUV segment that is predicted by industry sales analyst IHS to increase to account for 27 per cent of all vehicle sales in Europe by 2020, from 20 per cent in 2014.

"Our Ford Kuga Vignale Concept speaks directly to the growing trend for luxury SUVs and represents the very best of Ford with premium design, materials and craftsmanship," said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford of Europe. "We see great potential to extend the top end of our Ford product range and offer a special experience that meets the growing expectations of our customers."

Travel in style
Ford Vignale customers value experiences and consider time the ultimate luxury. Ford will offer a dedicated service to help customers across Europe efficiently arrange exclusive travel and lifestyle experiences.

Delivered in partnership with Total Management – a global event, lifestyle and travel agency – the service will offer a carefully selected collection of experiences to Ford Vignale customers. These will include breaks at luxury venues including the Relais & Châteaux Mas de Torrent in Girona, Spain, and Grayshott Spa and Hotel in the U.K.

Exclusive offers for theatre, music and sporting events including French Open tennis also will be offered. Ford will keep customers informed about the latest exclusive travel and lifestyle opportunities via a monthly email update, launching across Europe this month.

Additional customer benefits offered by Ford Vignale include the Vignale Service smartphone app for Apple and Android™ operating systems. The app delivers a direct link to online lifestyle content from the Vignale Magazine, in addition to offering driving tips and information; a dealership locator; and GPS-enabled services including Ford Vignale Park Me, fuel stations locator, and a one-touch connection with emergency services or Ford Vignale One Call.

Ford Vignale Ambassadors revealed
The new Ford Vignale Ambassadors and stars of the Ford Vignale launch campaign are leaders in their fields and reflect Ford's passion for contemporary design and high-quality craftsmanship.

Joe and Charlie Casely-Hayford are father and son fashion designers at the forefront of menswear with the Casely-Hayford's brand. The Casely-Hayford's are the first actively co-working father-and-son team to make a breakthrough in high fashion and between them have styled for the musicians including Lou Reed, Nas, Sam Smith, The Clash, The xx and U2. Joe Casely-Hayford was in 2007 appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, for services to the fashion industry.

Kai Petermann is a Berlin-based founder and creative director of "", a leading German interior design online destination. One of Germany's biggest digital influencers, Petermann's blog focuses on design discoveries, lifestyle ideas and technologies. Ford will announce further Ford Vignale Ambassadors joining the programme later this the year.

"We chose to work with Ford Vignale because we felt there was a strong brand synergy," Joe Casely-Hayford said. "We liked the idea of combining craftsmanship with innovation, and technology with tradition. We love the attention to detail."

Signature Vignale Collection
The 2016 Vignale Collection brings together a portfolio of designs created by Ford Vignale designers and inspired by the distinctive craftsmanship and upscale materials found in Ford Vignale models. Available to experience and order at Vignale Lounges and via a dedicated online store, the Vignale Collection includes a handmade leather iPad sleeve and office bag that reflect the distinctive Ford Vignale grille and quilted pattern of the handcrafted seats.

Also presented is a power bank trimmed in high quality leather; a Vignale leather writing set with an exclusively designed LAMY Vignale fountain pen and ball pen; a leather sleeve for travel documents; and a wallet and leather sunglasses holder. In addition, the Vignale Collection for the first time offers a new range of soft leather-trimmed notebooks.

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