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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 Aims to Edge Out the Competition with All-New 2015 Edge CUV

Crossover will target Europe for 1st time.

by on Jun.24, 2014

The new 2015 Ford Edge adopts the same C/D platform as the maker's Fusion sedan.

Ford hopes to maintain its Edge when it launches an all-new version of its midsize crossover later this year, the 2015 Ford Edge marking the nameplate’s debut in the European market.

The new crossover-utility vehicle, originally introduced for the 2007 model-year, the Edge quickly gained traction in the booming U.S. CUV market, and it has been a major factor in Ford’s rapid growth in China. Now, the maker hopes to repeat that success in Europe as it launches an all-new version of the Edge that it boasts is more refined, more powerful and more fuel efficient.

We're Your Edge!

The new Edge also serves as the latest example of retiring CEO Alan Mulally’s One Ford strategy, the 2015 crossover migrating to a new platform that it shares with a variety of other key Ford products including the midsize Fusion sedan, the 4-door European Mondeo and S-Max people-mover, as well as the latest version of the Lincoln MKZ.


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…)

J Mays Stepping Down as Ford Global Design Chief

Moray Callum to take on global design duties.

by on Nov.06, 2013

Ford's global design chief J Mays, shown here at the launch of the Ford Flex, is resigning from the post effective Jan. 1.

J Mays, the talented but at times controversial group vice president and global design director at Ford Motor Co., will be retiring after 16 years with the Detroit automaker – and 33 years in the auto industry.

Mays, who was instrumental in breathing new life into Ford Design during the company’s often painful turnaround over the past decade, will be replaced by Moray Callum, who has been elected a Ford Motor Co. officer and named vice president, Design effective upon Mays’ official retirement on Jan. 1, 2014.

Stay Plugged In!

Mays is stepping down even though two of his key projects recently, the redesign of the Ford Mustang and the F-150 pickup truck, have yet to be shown publicly. However, a concept version of the pickup truck was unveiled during the North American International Auto Show last January to favorable reviews. The maker continues to hold the new Mustang – which will debut on the nameplate’s 50th anniversary – under tight wraps. (more…)

Ford Shuffles Design Heads

Ian Callum takes over Americas, Peter Horbury goes to Volvo.

by on Apr.01, 2009


The gregarious and decidedly "politically incorrect" Horbury now returns to Sweden and Volvo.

Faced with the sudden departure last week of design-head Steven Mattin from loss-making Volvo, “to pursue other opportunities,” Ford Motor Company is sending Peter Horbury, executive director Ford Americas design, back to Gothenburg, Sweden, as vice president of design. Moray Callum, currently director of design for cars, Ford Americas, will replace Horbury as executive director, Ford Americas design in Dearborn. Both positions are effective May 1. 

Horbury was Volvo’s design director in 1991, where he attempted to bring some more rounded shapes to the stolid and boxy Swedish brand, at a time when its safety marketing position was being successfully challenged by European and Japanese makers. The 1992 hybrid-electric ECC concept, with an extreme aerodynamic shape, was the first visible sign of his desire to move from the angular forms of the 850 model it was based on. However, it was not until 1997 that the influence of the gregarious and decidedly politically incorrect Horbury was felt in a meaningful way, when the first production cars appeared, the C70 and ’98 S80. Horbury rounded the look inside and out, and contributed the car-length shoulders still in use today. Volvo cars was acquired by Ford in 1998 for more than $6 billion and incorporated into its fledgling Premier Automotive Group.

In 2002, Horbury was appointed executive director responsible for studios of all the PAG brands — Jaguar, Land Rover, Volvo and Aston Martin. After moving to the United States in early 2004, Horbury developed a “new design DNA” for the Lincoln brand, initially expressed in the MKR Concept and evolving  into the MKT and Lincoln C Concept. Volvo is the only remaining brand of  the now failed PAG at Ford. Sales of the others during the last two years raised desperately needed cash. Volvo, too, is currently for sale and rumors of Chinese bidders abound.

“Peter is returning to Volvo at the perfect time to lead the design team in developing the next generation of Volvo products,” said Stephen Odell, president and CEO, Volvo Cars.  (more…)