The chief designer of Ford is based in Dearborn, Detroit and leads a global team of 1,100 Ford designers. Here he speaks exclusively to Car Dealer.
Mondeo is a very important car for the UK. Do you think the looks are good enough for it to sell here?
Yes. We’ve lived with the design as the Fusion for a few years already in the States and I still see them every day and think they’re good-looking cars. It’s a car that people appreciate the design of and in the States the design is still one of its selling points.
Is the One Ford strategy working in your mind?
Yes because people are buying the cars. I do think it makes sense, though. It took Alan Mulally to come on board and to question what we were doing. For many years, those in the US wanted cars with more European designs so it was a natural progression.
Have there been any challenges?
There were in getting everyone on board and facing the same direction. The thing with designers is they all have their own opinions, so the challenge there was not just to get a line, but one in the right direction. The idea is we can now take work from any one of our design studios around the world and we’re all now talking with one voice.
Do you pitch studios against each other?
Yes we do. We want those studios to challenge each other but within the same design parameters. We have competition – that’s great because it helps raise the bar.
What distinguishes a Ford right now?
It’s the face. We’ve worked very hard to give Fords a unique and recognisable face. We also talk about the silhouette being recognisable. Then the surface language is important too.
Where do you take your influences from?
I take mine from all around me. Sometimes it comes from the past, but I hope it comes from the future too. I look to other technology and how you we can communicate that technology to customers.
What’s your favourite current Ford model at the moment?
It would have to be the Mondeo. It encompasses everything we stand for and is a good-looking car.
What non-car brand do you admire?
That’s a wide area! It always comes back to Apple for me because Apple understands the importance of design. It has showed design can really help sell a product.
What’s your favourite car?
It depends what day of the week it is. I answer that question differently every time. Today, I don’t know… it’s wavering between a Citroen DS, an E-Type Jaguar and a Mini. The original Mini is a brilliant car and I like the ingenuity behind that car.
Will we ever see another Puma?
I’m probably not an expert, but that doesn’t mean t isn’t something that isn’t in our sketchbook. Puma will be a type of product we’d love to develop as we like to develop our current platforms. I think it might just have been another Callum that worked on that car, so I’d love to do a better one than he did, of course!
Which cars do you love working on?
Well, obviously the sports cars are enjoyable, but the more run-of-the-mill cars with regular formulas are more rewarding because the challenge is bigger.