The US automaker is looking to make a serious dent in the ever growing SUV segment and is gearing up to secure its position in Europe by carefully looking at the various trends that define our everyday life.
For example, at an event organized in Cologne, Germany, the Ford designers explained how they come with the curvy shapes and bold – yet stylish – looks of their latest SUVs. Ford is looking to have a larger impact in the mass market SUV segment with the addition of the Euro-spec Edge full size crossover, but more importantly with the refreshed Kuga and the soon to be facelifted EcoSport. Before we get down to the juicy details, let’s have an inside peek at how the vehicles take shape. We all know it takes about four years from sketch to finished product – so in that time a lot can change in terms of consumer habits, trends and customer tastes. To mitigate that issue, Ford not only sends out its designers to find the widest range of influences possible from fashion and jewellery, to upscale furniture, but also has a future-gazing Trend team that delivers an annual report looking at consumer buying choices and customer behaviors around the world.
For the three SUVs they have today, the Ford Design team said they were influenced by things such as Converse shoes worn by Millennials to work with personalized colored laces, a Michael Kors leather tote bag and a handmade sterling silver charm bracelet. According to the Ford team’s trend results, the mothers with young children, Millennials, and active 50-somethings are the ones driving the SUV popularity up in Europe. “Our customers expect us to find a new approach to design that sets us apart from other brands,” said Joel Piaskowski, director, Design, Ford of Europe. “By paying special attention to distinctive design elements of the products and brands customers use and wear, we gain exposure to new ideas and find inspiration for future Ford vehicle designs.” Anything and everything can influence them, for example for the Edge they incorporated design ideas from a classic handmade G.Wiseman pocket knife with a rust-resistant blade made from tool-grade steel, and canvas black micarta handle. The Kuga meanwhile incorporated themes evoked by an elegant, yet durable Michael Kors multi-tasking tote bag.
Most importantly, while still displaying it in its current form at the New Audiences and SUVs event, alongside the Kuga in production Vignale form and the Edge, the EcoSport was a recurring theme. This is most importantly because Ford is expecting a major overhaul of the model to arrive soon in order to fight at the top of this very popular subcompact segment. We have been given multiple hints so we can extrapolate some things. First off, the refreshed EcoSport will be presented this November at the Los Angeles Auto Show because it will be first produced in Brazil in this updated form. And we imagine that Ford is looking to test the North American audience as they most likely prepare to also introduce the model in the United States to fight competitors like the Chevrolet Trax or Buick Encore. Additionally, with the SUV family at Ford now taking shape, we believe the EcoSport will take numerous exterior design cues from the Kuga – while also thoroughly reworking the interior, which has been deeply criticized in the past.