20. Januar 2010
‘Kinetic Design’ etabliert sich als weltweite Formensprache der Marke Ford. Anläßlich der Präsentation des neuen Ford Focus in Detroit hat uns Martin Smith, Executive Design Director Ford of Europe, exklusiv brennende Fragen zu Ford und Kinetic Design beantwortet.
Q) Last Focus was a rather evolutionary development to its predecessor. How would you describe the step to the next generation Focus?
A) The new Focus demonstrates our latest level of kinetic design and is a fundamental step forward. For such a key car it is important to retain a certain family resemblance so customers can clearly identify with its heritage, but this Focus is also totally new throughout.
Q) The Ford range in Europe seems now complete and coherent. What’s the next development after ‚Kinetic Design’? Will the ‚Kinetic Design’ form language also describe the future model line up in the US? Will we see also ‚kinetic’ Ford Trucks in the near future?
A) We are still developing the kinetic design language – a step forward in the new S-MAX and Galaxy we are just launching now and a leap forward with the new Focus – and we are working on future direction, but I can’t talk about that just yet. Future commercial vehicle designs in Europe will definitely be influenced by kinetic design, but the large trucks in the US are so specific in their application it remains to be seen if kinetic design will reach them as well.
Q) In the early nineties we saw lots of electric car concepts coming up (BMW E1, Opel Twin, Fiat ZIC, Fiat Downtown, Mercedes-Benz Vision A) Isn’t the todays euphoria the same like 15 years ago? Do you believe in the electric car? When can we buy the first electric Ford?
A) There are some interesting concepts around the electric car idea, but we believe that ultimately any successful electric vehicle will still have to offer the practicality of the cars we know today. We confirmed at the Detroit Show that an electric Focus is part of our new portfolio and will go on sale in North America and Ford is currently also working with both the German and British Governments on zero emission vehicle projects using the current Focus.
Q) You are also designing cars for the growing Chinese market. How do you respond specifically to the requests and wishes of the Chinese client? Are there specific China-only designs at Ford? Is ‚Kinetic Design’ also the right approach for the Chinese taste or are you developing your design language into a specific direction for the Asian/Chinese market?
A) We are already enjoying some success in China with our current product range and this proves that our kinetic design is as appropriate in this market as anywhere else. Indeed, we will be putting the new Focus into production there as well as in Europe and North America. I don’t believe that we need to design unique vehicles for Chinese customers as they want to drive what the rest of the world does.
Q) After separating/selling the former premium brands (Jaguar, Volvo, Land-Rover) of Ford Motor Company can we expect to see a development of the Ford brand into a more upmarket/premium direction?
A) I believe that we already demonstrate premium qualities in our products. The new S-MAX and Galaxy underline this and there is no doubt that the interior of the new Focus strongly enforces this as well. Ford has a specific place in the market and we will still continue to provide outstanding engineering, dynamics and value, but we also recognise the desires of customers for more luxury and equipment levels as well.
Q) Everybody is still today missing the Ford Capri. Is there a chance to see in the near future a model with the Capri heritage in the lineup? Or will this be fulfilled by a sporty Focus version?
A) The Capri had a special place in our history, but I don’t believe it would be right to try and replicate this today. We can address the needs of those customers looking for sporty performance with other cars, such as our Focus ST and RS and even the S-MAX.
Q) The previous Focus Convertible was not very well received on the market. Do you think the trend will be towards the more simple and more appealing, more classic soft top roof?
A) Actually the Focus Coupe Cabriolet was successful in its segment and customers do like the combination of a folding metal roof and open-air motoring, but what we will do in the future I can’t tell you right now.
Q) What is the main source of inspiration for you and your designers? The brand heritage? Nature? Fashion? New product design trends?
A) As designers we draw inspiration from many sources – amongst them modern architecture and fashion – but our main source of inspiration comes from the lively and creative team discussions we have with both our design leadership and young designers.
Q) Looking at the recent Ford design it seems that your designers do a very motivated job. How do you keep them happy in your design team?
A) We have a fantastically motivated global design team, which takes great encouragement from seeing its work reach production. This also gives us the scope to be adventurous with our conceptual work as we look further ahead. A car designer can’t really ask for more.
Q)What’s your favourite production car today (outside Ford)?
A) Any current Aston Martin. They are all beautiful, professionally-designed, cars.
Thank you very much.