• Apr 23, 2010
Ford Start Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

As we were checking out the new Ford Start concept at the Beijing Motor Show, we ran into the head of Ford's advanced studio in California, Freeman Thomas, and the mini car's lead exterior designer, Jeff Nield.

According to Nield, he wanted to create a vehicle that retained elements of Ford's "Kinetic Design" language while at the same time create something more subdued, able to stand apart from the noise surrounding the show. Thus the Start has a cleaner simpler shape that's slightly more serious than past concepts. Nield mentioned the Mini and how it's always had a cute, happy demeanor about it. He wanted to create something different – a thing of beauty injected with very natural, organic elements.

Thomas explained that the designers wanted to experiment with a hybrid construction consisting of a mix of aluminum, high strenght steel and composites. This allowed the creation of a very open, airy cockpit, with thin pillars for good visibility, while also providing occupants a feeling of safety with the high belt line.

One of the more interesting interior details is the monorail front seat tracks that have the thrones on a central pedestal, thus increasing foot room for rear passengers. There are no production plans for any of this right now, but some of the ideas could shine a light on where to go next – and that turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder is definitely finding its way to market.



Photos by Sam Abuelsamid / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 37 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      If we ever see a kei car like this from Ford in the USA... well.. i'll eat my hat :)

      But.. tiny 2 door cars for the win.. gimme back my oldschool crx/del sol high mpg, high fun goodness!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'd say AWD would be kinda overly complex but RWD makes a bit more sense.
        Would help balance out the rear/front weight in a car that small.... that's for sure!!

        But a gas mileage / performance hit on such a small engined car would suck.

        However, tiny FWD cars handle amazingly. I had a Del Sol for a while, it was effin' awesome, and even on original blown-out shocks. I'd say vert similar to my e36 but with more understeer/oversteer.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Also so would it be so hard to give us a couple of small light weight RWD cars while your at it? Maybe even some of the fun awd kei style cars like come on with todays tech light weight cars should be able to be made safely. After all when cars like the Cruze claim to be compact and weigh-in well over 3000 lbs I think the automakers need to call the automotive equvialent of Jenny Criag.....
      • 4 Years Ago
      Mmmm this is how the Ka should have look like, maybe not too extreme.

      I like it
      • 4 Years Ago
      Am I the only one who likes it? The interior is awesome. Look at the iPhone like instruments! Oh and the seats are ‘too die for!’ The front and side views are okay. The only thing I don’t like is it’s bulging arse. It looks like a Ka with a waistline problem.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree, but I really like it, reminded me of some characters in the movie "Ponyo"...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ford Ka 2.0?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I agree with Rochester. It looks very...aquatic. But Chinese taste in design isn't necessarily the same as ours. They may think it's cool.
      And the rear end looks like something from a kid's cartoon, a caricature of a happy, anthropomorphic car
      • 4 Years Ago
      "There's only ONE thing wrong with the Davis baby... IT'S ALIVE!"
      • 4 Years Ago
      No, Ford.

      This doesn't work.

      Looks like a '49 Tucker.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah. That's an ugly car. The interior has some really cool features, but that ass is disgusting.
        • 4 Years Ago
        yep at first i was like neat!
        now im like...im 12 and what is this?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Finally someone agrees, this thing is awful. It looks like someone kicked a Ford Ka in the nuts.
      • 4 Years Ago
      awesome, awesome, awesome. build it as is (with real headlights, but keep the rest, incl the interior) and give the mini, a1, etc a run for their money.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I totally agree. If it were a 2-seater, then I'd say that Ford built a better "modern CRX" than Honda did with the CR-Z. This car totally reminds me of my '89 CRX, just better. Same basic thought: Cheap, light weight with low power (lack of weight means you dont need as much power), and stellar fuel economy.

        Imagine this car on the market for $8900. I bet it would sell like hotcakes. It would knock the Tata Nano off it's pedastal before it ever got there (in the States).
      • 4 Years Ago
      I like it. It looks way better then a Smart car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Looks like that electric Audi.



      So if this is "Kinetic Design", what kind of a design current Ford Focus follows?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Looks like a cross between the Audi eTron and the Saab 92/91 designs that were posted on Autoblog a few weeks ago.
        • 4 Years Ago
        This is bar far the ugliest car to come out of the show so far. Thank god it's only a concept.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm thinking that the Ford design studio was playing a joke on the suits using a blob of clay with roughed-in wheels, and it backfired when the suits demanded they take it forward as a full-size concept...

        The real car designers are crying, I'm sure
        • 4 Years Ago
        I really wish Ford would stop making concepts in those damn red/maroon/burgundy colors.. They look horrible in every instance, the lighting at the shows always washes out the colors and makes them look like $#!t.. Just go back and look at the Verve concept, flex concept, etc...they keep making concept cars in these damn medium to dark reds... BLAH!!! Stop using these colors!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      This thing is terrible. I hope it goes the way of most concepts and never sees the light of day. That neoretro PACMAN ghost back end is hideous.
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