Restyling Future Fords

1991 Audi Avus Quattro

1991 Audi Avus Quattro, a J Mays design

Yesterday, our very own tgriffith got positively giddy over Ford’s new concept, the Evos. We agree, it is the sharpest show car Ford has produced in years. More important, as a product of J Mays’s design shop, we are told it will be the “template for future Fords.”

Mays told the Detroit News, “We’re going to Frankfurt to seduce people.”

Mays, Martin Smith, executive design director for Ford of Europe, and Moray Callum, executive director for North American design, started work on Ford’s new look three years ago. Smith’s team in Cologne, Germany, designed the Evos, which was built in Torino, Italy.

The first production example of the sleek Evos look should appear in January with the newly designed Fusion.

Ford has committed to big design changes for its vehicles in the next three years. Some are noted here, and Lincoln is finally going to get some attention.

Mays is one of the world’s great car designers—the Audi Avus, Volkswagen New Beetle and, while at Ford (since 1997), the Jaguar F-Type, the 2002 Thunderbird, Ford Mondeo, among many others.

Ford MondeoIf you look at the Mondeo (right), you can see how what Mays has called the DNA of the car’s design translated into later products like the Focus and Fiesta.

Mays has often been quoted as saying car designers work too hard at impressing one another. Instead, they ought to consider their customers.

Designers aren’t easily able to think as customers. And, because they tend to socialise together, dress the same way and have the same black furniture in their living rooms, they tend to have a very isolated—and inaccurate—view of the world. That’s slowly changing, at least at Ford. Because as we start to separate and amplify our brands, it’s becoming clear that each of the brands is a sub-set of the customers themselves. Ultimately, it’s our job to design for those customers, and part of that is better understanding them.

One hopes the new Fords will indeed follow through with the Evos design language. If you believe the blokes in the video below, it will be a new era. (Good shots of the car, too.)

Can you imagine a new F-150 with the Evos DNA? What would that look like?


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  1. I certainly wouldn’t call the T-bird or the Mondeo good designs. The T-bird was a sales disaster and looks like someone carved a 1957 ‘bird from a bar of soap and then passed it through their bowels. The mondeo is just plain boring. And that Audi? It looks like its going backwards. Mays is typical Detroit– a lot of mumbo jumbo designspeak and inconsistent, often banal designs. Were the Astons and Jags a fluke? Well, the designs are heavily derived from previous (and what is considered iconic) design and if you take away those elements what do you get? The Mondeo.

  2. Thanks jgoods! I remember when Ford owned Jag and Aston… the Premier Auto Group. Not too surprising that elements of them show up occasionally.

  3. @
    @ Jim Redd
    Others have noticed this too, and Mays had a strong association with Aston Martin when Ford owned it. Wikipedia tells us he was involved in the design of the DB9. Its principal designers were Ian Callum and Henrik Fisker (yes, that Fisker), Ian being the older brother of Moray Callum, one of the Ford design blokes talking in the video (at 0:42). Kind of a tight little club, isn’t it?

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