Freeman Thomas with the Airstream concept

During the concept car ride that Ford held at their Dearborn proving ground this week, some of Ford's top designers including Peter Horbury and Freeman Thomas were on hand to answer questions from the gathered journalists. Thomas currently leads Ford's Advanced Design Studio in Irvine, California, and made his name being involved in designs like the Audi TT and Volkswagen New Beetle. Now he is trying to help revive the design team at Ford and bring them them some new hits.

During a wide ranging discussion out on the track, he acknowledged that design had definitely not been a priority in the product decision making process at Ford. In the process of creating some cars that offended no one they also excited no one and that has to stop. Not every vehicle is going to appeal to everyone and they need to strive to create vehicles that really excite a significant number of buyers. He gave high praise to Alan Mullaly and Derrick Kuzak for the support they are providing to the design team.

Thomas told the Detroit News what he had been told at the Detroit Auto Show that the Interceptor concept was never intended to be developed into a production vehicle. When Alan Mullaly was told that after seeing the car and loving the bold design, he was dismayed. Based on the reactions to cars like the Interceptor and Lincoln MKR, Ford is now revisiting their designs and elements of cars like the Interceptor will appear in the future. We will also be seeing some of the "kinetic" design that debuted on the new Mondeo in the US market in the coming years.

You can listen to the discussion we had with Freeman Thomas at the Dearborn track here. Sorry about the wind noise in spots.

[Source: Detroit News]