• Jan 23, 2007
Ford's CEO, Alan Mulally has a vision. That vision can be summed up in two words "One Ford."

The idea behind the slogan is to create cars that will appeal to both American and European consumers, by utilizing a common design theme that would move beyond the three-bar infatuation of the U.S. and Ford of Europe's kinetic design language (which we don't want to see go anytime soon). It's safe to say that GM's recent rebadging of Europe's Opel lineup as Saturns may have inspired such a move.

Thankfully for Ford, one of the biggest hurdles to a global design – size – is becoming less of an issue, as European consumers are increasingly purchasing larger vehicles, once a mainstay of only American buyers.

However, certain challenges remain. One concern is that during the development of a global design language, there will be race to the middle; satisfying no one and everyone at the same time. North American design chief Peter Horbury, who's always good for a quote, said in Automotive News that, "The critical thing is to not design a car that would only sell in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean."

Certain regional tuning will still take place, with different suspension settings as well as slightly redesigned front fascias. But no matter where you are in the world, Ford wants you to be able to recognize a Blue Oval product from 50 yards out.

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]


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  • 34 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Exactly why is it an "infatuation," when it comes to the Ford 3-bar design yet the same comments are "NOT" made about the Chrysler & Dodge grill themes.
      • 8 Years Ago
      On the surface sounds good, however, long term tying your company to a "world car" might not be that great of an idea. What you could end up with is a car that pleases nobody becuase it has to please so many different regions and conditions.

      The ones who have done well as world car players, Toyota, Nissan, VW don't play this game anymore, variants is the name of tthe game.
      • 8 Years Ago
      In fact I would say the status quo actually works OK. Its just that the Ford US design team needs to get its arse into gear.

      Maybe the best way forward is to make each geographical part of Ford more open to importing each others cars. This would make for some healthy creative competition and keep everyone on their toes.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Although it seems like there is renewed support for global cars at the moment I have to say I am a bit sceptical. As the article points out there is a risk of the car satisfying one group of customers and not the other or not appealling to either of them. Although as a European I am no doubt biased - but I really don't want Ford US Corporate types dictating to Ford Europe how to make their cars - it would be utterly disastrous.
      • 8 Years Ago
      13. Exactly why is it an "infatuation," when it comes to the Ford 3-bar design yet the same comments are "NOT" made about the Chrysler & Dodge grill themes.

      Actually, There is some history to go wth those crosshair-type grilles. If you look back at the 1960 300F, there it is. That doesn't mean it looks good, but there is a precedent, at least. The big egg-crates flanked with dual-quad headlights are there, too, on previous editions. I'm not bashing Ford, here, but fair is fair.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The Contour/Mondeo a horrible product?

      "Ford replaced the rear-drive Sierra with the front-drive Mondeo, and its new model was an instant success all over Europe thanks to its modern looks, impressive handling, comfortable interior and refined range of Zetec petrol engines. The only major criticism of the car was the lack of refinement of its diesel engine in comparison to the more refined engines from Peugeot and Citroën. It was still proving popular at the time of its successor's launch in 2000."

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Car_of_the_Year#Ford_Mondeo_.281994.29

      BTW - it was the European Car of the Year in 1994. Not too shabby as they say. The early Contours/Mystiques did have the usual first year production/quality problems, but after that they were a pretty decent car. They weren't a great sales success because of the price which was close to that of the Taurus.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ford has already announced that Mercury will no longer be the volume leader for the LM division. That effectively puts the brand on life support. Why would they waste good European designs on a dying brand?

      At any rate, Ford seems to be banking on two things: 1) its international operations have greater design flair than those in the U.S., and 2) it's theoretically cheaper to design a car once rather than multiple times for various markets.

      They've been down this road before and failed, so it will be interesting to see if they figure out a better way to produce "world cars." And as two cents pointed out, the Japanese have eschewed this strategy for very good reasons.

      At the end of the day, perhaps the best reason to try this strategy is to shake up Ford's American design team. Frankly, it hasn't been very good.

      As an aside, does this mean that Ford will follow GM in its stated plan to export the Camaro? If so, then they will need to put the Mustang on a diet . . . which may require finding it a much smaller and lighter platform.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'll believe it when I see it. Ford has been trying to do this for 30 years and manages to mess it up every time. The current US model Focus is the latest example.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #16. Oh and Contour was ... It didn't sell in Europe, and didn't sell here either.

      hahaha, Contour alias Ford Mondeo did sell in Europe actually VERY WELL
      get the facts dude or be quiet
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is a good thing already proven by GM with Saturn that it can work. It is cool that GM is already that far ahead of the curve.
      • 8 Years Ago
      @ #24 in 1996 The Ford Mondeo aka Mercury Contour was the 3rd highest selling car in the UK - which more or less translates to a lot of cars in Europe.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Thing is Ford is overthinking it. Every good business follows the KISS principle. Stands for "Keep it Simple, Stupid!"

      Do same design language, have 3-5 shared products, and then rest of the line-up can be different depending on region. Saturn/Vauxhall/Opel are sharing Vue, Astra, Sky. Yet Outlook is purely a Saturn product with a Opel design theme. In future it looks as if Saturn will be getting Vectra wagon too.

      Simplify!!!!
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