Web Wombat - the original Australian search engine
Motoring Menu
Business Links
Premium Links


Ford To Develop Unified Global Design Language: Kinetic or Bold?

Motoring Channel Staff - 8/November/2007

Ford Fusion - American Bold Design
Ford Fusion - 'Bold' American Design

Ford Kuga - European Kinetic Design
Ford Kuga - 'Kinetic' European Design

Ford Focus ST500
Ford's new Focus ST500 has been unleashed
in the UK, which adds red Recaro racing seats

Melbourne, Australia As Toyota continues to dominate the sales charts in Australia, Ford's head of global design is hoping that a unified global approach to car design will result in greater success.

Last month in Australia, Toyota outsold the combined totals of both Ford and GM Holden in third and second places respectively thanks largely to the addition of the new Kluger SUV. This is the first time this has ever happened and will be alarming news for both companies.

Ford Australia and GM Holden will both be displeased upon hearing this news but both companies are currently experiencing a lot of pressure in their domestic market of America which never helps.

Pick-up truck sales have traditionally accounted for a large majority of sales for both Ford and GM (Ford's F150 truck was once the best-selling vehicle in the US) in North America, but as the price of crude oil surpassed $100 in recent days, any vehicle that has a large engine and drinks lots of fuel is going to experience a downturn.

The cost of running a vehicle is now taking its toll on drivers and small cars are becoming the primary battlefield for many car makers.

Another issue that Ford has faced in last few years are its two divergent design philosophies. Ford of Europe has its 'kinetic' design DNA which is most obvious in the Ford Mondeo and upcoming Ford Kuga, while Ford's North American design DNA is far bolder with less subtlety.

Ford Australia's upcoming Falcon, expected to hit the road in March 2008, has been styled to incorporate some of Ford Europe's modern 'kinetic' design cues but because North American exports may be on the cards for the new Falcon, it will still retain a touch of the muscular, tough car design that appeals to American buyers.

Even so, Ford's group vice president of design and chief creative officer, J Mays, has recently gone on the record and said that Ford has to, and will, evolve its various design themes into one unified global design language in the future. At present, for example, there is an American Focus and European Focus which have different designs.

Speaking to Automotive News, Mr Mays said that the change won't be drastic but that "Everyone's focus will be slightly shifted." 

Update: J Mays has indicated that the evolution of the American and European Ford design philosophies won't happen for at least another six years. Expect to begin seeing some of the new designs as concept cars at motor shows in 2012, with production models using the unified design language towards 2014.

Not unlike BMW or Audi, whose entire vehicle ranges are recognisable from 30 yards, Ford's chief of design has been talking up a new direction that would combine both the European and America design philosophies. There would be some regional differences according to Mr Mays, but they would be minor. 

The goal being that a Ford would be a Ford no matter what continent you were on. We're hoping the European 'kinetic' theme is adopted on a global scale because it's just so appealing, and it will be interesting to see where Mr Mays takes Ford in the next four to six years.

"The transformation of the Ford brand globally, that, without a doubt, is the number one challenge," said J Mays who added that the sales of Land Rover and Jaguar would help fund this new global design push.

Ford's main man, CEO Alan Mullally, has previously stated that the Blue Oval needs a global design language which would both allow more parts and platform sharing across its manufacturing plants and be more efficient to market and sell, and now it seems the troops have adopted his battlecry.

Though Ford's design guru J Mays didn't say exactly when the unified global design language would make itself felt on new models, we predict it will begin happening early in the new decade.

As Asian car companies like Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai are making ever more progress on the global sales charts, the traditional leaders like Ford and General Motors are doing a lot of soul searching to find the right moves to get back in on the action.

New Turbo Focus

As Ford's Focus tears up the World Rally Championships, the Blue Oval is rumoured to be preparing a WRX STI rival in the form of an all-wheel drive Ford Focus RS, powered by either a normally aspirated V6 or a turbocharged 4- or 5-cylinder engine. If Ford takes out the WRC this year, it will likely produce a hard core Focus to celebrate, but as of now it has released the Focus ST500 in the United Kingdom.

Powered by the Focus ST's (badged the Focus XR5 Turbo in Australia) 5-cylinder turbo petrol engine, which develops more than 166kW (225hp) @ 6100rpm and 320Nm of torque @ 1600rpm, this new ST500 model gets a unique black exterior with body stripes, red leather Recaro sports seats and matching interior, ST500 badging, xenon headlamps, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, rain-sensing wipers and solar-reflect windscreen.

Related Links:
- Ford Mondeo (Road Test)
- FPV F6 X (2008)
- Ford Fiesta XR4 (Road Test)
- Ford Kuga Concept (2007)
- Ford Mondeo (2007)
Ford Focus Diesel (Road Test)
- Ford Focus XR5 Turbo (Road Test)
Next-Gen Ford Falcon in Detroit (2008)
- Ford Fiesta Zetec (Road Test)
- Ford Fiesta XR4 (2007)
- Ford Mustang Giugiaro Concept (2006)
Holden Commodore vs Ford Falcon (Road Test)
Ford Territory Turbo (Road Test)
Ford Falcon BF MkII (2006)

< Back

Australia's own Web Wombat Search
Search 30 million+ Australian web pages:
 
Try Web Wombat's Advanced Search
Join WebWombat On ...

Search Web Wombat's Motoring Archives
Featured Articles
Horoscopes Lotto Weather More

Home | About Us | Advertise | Submit Site | Contact Us | Privacy | Terms of Use | Hot Links | OnlineNewspapers | Add Search to Your Site

Copyright © 1995-2014 WebWombat Pty Ltd. All rights reserved