Following Apple Model, Ford Turns 500 European Showrooms Into Ford Stores
|   Wednesday, August 27, 2014
The experience that Ford customers have in Ford showrooms will change in 2015 when 500 dealership sites will turn into Ford Store, stores that will also introduce the premium equipment line called Vignale.

After Apple has completely transformed the experience that customers have in store, inventing the famous Apple Store, this example was followed in the automotive world by Tesla, whose company showrooms are actually boutique shops where interaction with the brand, is very different from what happens in a conventional dealership.


Now another big car manufacturer will take the path for this type of store: Ford will turn in Europe 500 of the best showrooms into Ford Store during 2015, unconventional spaces in which customers will interact differently with cars and sales people.

The transformation of 500 dealership sites is part of an extended plan in which about 2,000 selling points will be redesigned and reconstructed to align to the new standards of the brand. According to Marketing Vice President in Europe, Gaetano Thorel, the new Ford Store will open especially in Western Europe and will coincide with the release of their top line Vignale, which are premium versions of existing models in the Ford range. The potential of the Vignale line equipment has already been presented by Ford at the Frankfurt Motor Show last year. The company promises an experience of its already consecrated premium models, the first of which is the new Mondeo.

Within the new Ford Store, there will be the so-called Vignale Lounge, special areas where customers will be attracted to the premium story that Ford wants to exhibit starting next year.

"You won't have to open a door. It's an area that is open and accessible in line with our DNA," he said. The Vignale Lounge will include merchandise for sale like luggage for weekend getaways. "The bag material is exactly the same leather as you'll find in the car," Thorel said. "In the lounge the type of sofa, the design of the table, the lamp, type of leather, the type of metal alloy -- all elements are inspired by the product."

If the Vignale versions of the new Mondeo and S-Max have been confirmed by dedicated concepts the models following them that will receive Vignale variants are still unknown. According to Ford, customers that will opt for the Vignale line will receive free extra services, like free washing machine or free transportation for cars when they have to go through revisions or service.

From 2011 through 2013 Ford Europe had a combined pre-tax operating loss of about 3.4 billion dollars. The company expects to lose more than 1 billion dollars in Europe again this year before returning to profit in 2015, Ford Europe President Stephen Odell said.

Besides Apple, the Ford Stores were inspired by coffee maker Nespresso too, Thorel said: "To me it's about looking beyond the product to the experience. Apple, Nespresso, they are experience brands."
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