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Ford Designers Want to Mine Your Mind

Biometric sensors help Detroit maker develop better interior designs.

by on Mar.23, 2015

Ford used the new biometric technologies to assist in the development of the tight GT cockpit.

Automotive interiors have come a long way in recent years. Even the most Spartan vehicles are likely to use materials and offer features that were found in only the most up-market models a decade ago. And that’s become a critical factor when motorists go to buy a new car, truck or crossover, says Moray Callum, the head of design at Ford Motor Co.

So, how to differentiate your product from the competition has become an increasingly critical challenge for a company like Ford. And the maker is turning to some interesting science to help it get a leg up. That includes the use of brain wave scanners that can tell when an interior design turns on a potential buyer or leaves them cold.

Top of Mind!

“Customers no longer just look at a vehicle as a conveyance,” contends Raj Nair, Ford’s director of product development, “but as an extension of their home or office.” So, they want the same level of design – and technology, he says.


Ford Shaking Up Design Ops Again

Joel Piaskowski new European chief as Martin Smith sets retirement.

by on May.30, 2014

Joel Piaskowski is the new head of design for Ford Europe, taking over for Martin Smith, who is retiring at the end of the year.

The official word at Ford is that the company is making a smooth shift in management, COO Mark Fields set to replace the retiring Alan Mulally on July 1. But whether or not you call it a shake-up, things are getting pretty busy on the design side of the automaker’s org chart.

Only months after long-time design director J Mays handed his pen and sketchpad over to new global boss Moray Callum, Ford is now seeing a big transition in its European styling studios.

The Last Word!

Joel Piaskowski, who has only been with Ford since 2010, will be the maker’s new head of design on the continent, succeeding Martin Smith who also plans to retire late this year. Smith will spend his final months, we’re told, working on a special project with Callum “studying the future direction of Ford design.” That’s not out of line considering the impact Smith has had on Ford’s current styling strategy. (more…)

Design Remains More Art than Digital Science

Designers search for the balance between passion and hard data.

by on May.08, 2014

GM Designer Tom Peters with the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette. He led the exterior design team.

While sophisticated technology has become an essential tool in the modern automotive styling studio, it still requires a human touch to bring designs to life.

“The artistic aspect is critical to car design,” stressed Tom Peters, the lead designers at General Motors for performance cars, during a discussion on car design at a meeting of the Automotive Press Association. “It’s through the human touch the passion is instilled in cars,” added Peters.  “Our products are very tactile, you have to engage the senses.”

Designed for You!

Though infotainment systems and fuel economy have becoming increasingly critical, competitive elements in today’s auto market, design remains one of the most important factors for shoppers choosing a new vehicle, studies reveal. In fact, there are many who contend that this is a new “Golden Age” for stylists as even brands like Toyota and Hyundai that traditionally settled for “plain vanilla” styling push for more passion in their products.


Ford Pioneers Online Gaming Technology to Raise Quality

Maker connects engineers globally and cuts development time.

by on Dec.16, 2013

Ford is using virtual technology similar to online 3D games to improve the quality of its vehicles.

Ford Motor Co. top executives constantly talk about “One Ford” and how it important it is to the company’s future. In the past, the concept has referenced everything from employee morale to commonizing components.

Now the company has a new meaning for it: 3D ultra-high-definition technology used by engineers and designers around the globe.

What a Concept! Subscribe for Free!

Ford engineers on different continents are using a virtual reality space to collect input from designers and engineers around the world. The objective is to use the high-definition technology to improve quality before vehicles reach the prototype stage in vehicle development. (more…)

First Look: 2013 Ford Fusion

Ford goes gunning for Camry and Accord.

by on Jan.09, 2012

Ford's new 2013 Fusion sedan.

More than a quarter century after the original Ford Taurus revolutionized automotive design – and put the U.S. automaker at the top of the midsize sales charts – Ford is hoping to do it again with the launch of the new 2013 Fusion sedan.

The new Fusion, making its debut at the North American International Auto Show, in Detroit, this week, takes aim at such import stalwarts as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord by delivering a mix of cutting-edge design, competitive fuel economy and a mix of features not typically found on a midsize sedan.

“We knew we needed a more premium design than our previous (Fusion) or our competitors,” says Chris Hamilton, Fusion’s styling chief.

Your Auto Show Source!

While it’s not quite the revolutionary breakthrough of the original 1986 Taurus, which ushered in the aerodynamic “jellybean” look that swept through the industry in its era, the Fusion is clearly a standout in a segment that has traditionally favored blander designs like the relatively plain-vanilla 2012 Camry, the new Fusion creating quite a buzz since Ford provided automotive journalists a sneak peek just before last month’s holiday break.


Striking Evos Concept Will Reshape Face of Next Ford Fusion

by on Sep.13, 2011

Though not slated for production, the design cues of the Ford Evos Concept will reappear - starting with the 2013 Ford Fusion and Mondeo.

Officially, the new Ford Evos is nothing more than a concept vehicle.  The sporty gullwinged 4-door debuting today at the Frankfurt Motor Show today won’t be going into production.  But if it strikes your fancy, hang tight.  Many of the most appealing design cues will soon reappear at a nearby Ford showroom, senior company officials tell, starting with a new model launching at the North American International Auto Show next January.

While Ford’s global design chief J Mays and other officials were cagey when pressed on the future of the new Evos “design language” – Mays hinting we might see more in four months or so – unimpeachable sources confirmed that this would, indeed, translate into a major launch at the Detroit Auto Show.  And the first new model to bring the Evos’ design cues to life will be the next-generation Ford Fusion – which be sold in most other markets as the Ford Mondeo.

News Now! Stay in the Know!

“We’re at the crossroads,” announced design director Mays during a sneak preview of the Evos, which is meant to be a significant evolution of Ford’s kinetic sculpture design language – which is itself most visible on new models like the Focus and Fiesta.  The goal is to come up with a look that is “more than just fun-to-drive,” said Mays, but which also provides a sense of the high technology  Ford is engineering into its products.