(from Ford Motor
Company Press Release) FORD VERVE CONCEPT HINTS AT FORDS FUTURE
SMALL-CAR DESIGN VISION
FRANKFURT , 23 August 2007 Ford Verve Concept a bold and
colourful concept car to be revealed at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor
Show gives the first hints of Fords future small-car design
The significance of the Ford Verve Concept is that it's the first
physical evidence of the design direction for an all-new small Ford
since it was announced earlier this year that the European arm of
the company's global Product Development group is taking the design
and engineering lead in creating a new small-car portfolio for major
world markets. The Ford Verve Concept is the first of three concept
vehicles which will debut in key regions Europe, Asia and North
Ford Verve Concept is presented here in Frankfurt as a bespoke
concept car to generate reactions while our production plans are
taking shape, said John Fleming, President and CEO of Ford of
Europe. Our Design team took an unrestrained approach to how our
future small cars could look, and this eye-catching concept was one
of the results. If we get the reaction we expect, Im certain that
the team will incorporate elements of this advanced design vision
into our final production design. This will make the next generation
of small cars from Ford very compelling indeed.
Ford Verve Concept is clearly our most expressive form language
yet, said Martin Smith, Executive Director of Design for Ford of
Europe. Bold, even radical, it demonstrates the dynamic
possibilities for expressing Fords kinetic design philosophy in a
small car that is a chic, modern and individualistic statement for a
sophisticated, fashion-aware generation.
Finished in rich colours and distinctive materials inspired by the
world of fashion and cosmetics, the Ford Verve Concept was created
by a team of designers from Ford's studios in Dunton, England, and
A bold expression
Building on the kinetic design momentum of Fords recent iosis and
iosis X concept cars, and the more premium feel of production models
like the new Ford Mondeo, the Ford Verve Concept is a bold
expression of a small-car vision.
Martin Smith uses expressions like "precision sculpted", "agile
muscularity" and "toned athleticism" to describe the full surfaces
of its body shape, which are complemented by a sleek roofline and
B-pillarless structure that lend an elegant, coupe-like feel of
Its colour a deep magenta red encapsulated in a tinted clearcoat
for an even deeper glow is a daring declaration of individualism
We wanted to make a bold statement about our vision for Ford small
cars of the future, said Stefan Lamm, Chief Exterior Designer, Ford
of Europe. Ford Verve Concept symbolises our ambition to be a
leader in small car design and create individual cars for individual
customers, just as we have with the S-MAX and new Mondeo.
Given a wide degree of freedom to create the concept, the design
team, including lead exterior designer Chris Hamilton, grounded
their efforts in reality. Ford Verve Concept was created with an eye
toward production feasibility.
Style and Energy in Motion
The concept's face is bold and sporty, yet friendly and engaging.
The front of the vehicle is dominated by a large, inverted
trapezoidal lower grille and a large Ford oval badge centred in the
compact upper grille opening.
The lower grille features strong horizontal blades punctuated by a
regular array of bullet shapes that combine to create the visual
effect of corresponding vertical bars. The lower grille and badge
treatment are the Design teams intended signature elements to
communicate the Ford design DNA in future products.
The bonnet shape is sculpted dynamically toned and athletic but
not overtly muscular. This feeling combines with the more
pronounced, rearward-stretching headlamp units inspired by Mondeo
to give the face of the Ford Verve Concept a friendly, open and
inviting personality. The prominent headlamps feature two projector
beams and a light-emitting diode (LED) array.
From the side view, the concept has the purposeful, cab-forward look
of energy in motion. The profile is emphasised by the pillarless
side window shape, the upper contour of which mirrors the bodys
curving upper contour line. This extends rearward from the angular
A-pillar to marry the sculpted, semi-high-mounted, LED tail lamps
themselves sculpted to become part of the fullness of the body shape
and the car's integrated tailgate spoiler. These elements blend
cohesively together and support the vehicles panoramic glass roof.
A bodyside belt line adds to the dramatic array of shapes that lend
a feeling of controlled tension. The wheel arches also communicate
tension and muscularity another signature of kinetic design.
At the rear, the lower diffuser with integrated centre exhaust
outlet are central elements of a cohesive design that incorporates
the encapsulated rear bumper and design accessories, like brushed
aluminium accents on the lower edges of the fog lamps. The lower
diffuser is formed of dark chrome, which provides a muted contrast
with the deep magenta body colour to create a controlled expression
of tension and suspense.
The 18-inch, 12-spoke, two-piece alloy wheel design lends even more
drama to the car. The wheel design is light and airy, with a feeling
of depth and three dimensionality that draws the eye to the base
of the spokes. Ford Verve Concepts low-profile tyres each feature a
sidewall stripe that complements the rich body colour.
Other accents on the vehicle evoking the way in which carefully
selected accessories can complement fashions include a subtle
chrome bar in the door handles and similar use of brushed aluminium
on the lower grille surround, the rear number plate surround and on
the lower edge of the front fog lamps.
These combine subtly to signal a higher level of premium quality
than that typically found in small cars.
With a small car, for example a B segment car compared with a
larger car, we believe we can play up or amplify key elements of
the kinetic design form language, Lamm said. Its not just a
matter of copy-and-paste from one vehicle segment to another but
rather how to interpret the philosophy for each individual car. You
can clearly see this when you compare the larger iosis concept, the
iosis X crossover and this new project.
Exploring the Inner Kinetic
The Ford Verve Concept is as dramatic on the inside as its exterior.
From its boldly shaped surfaces and courageous use of rich colours
and irresistible materials, the car has a playful sense of
sophistication and fashion. It also pioneers new technologies that
someday could be a production reality.
As Ford designers explored the possibilities for a future Ford small
car, the wide latitude they were given helped them focus on applying
the tenets of kinetic design to the interior of the new concept. As
a result, the Ford Verve Concept repudiates tradition, especially in
the architecture of the instrument panel, whose sensuous curves and
full shapes make a typical, upright centre stack design seem
distinctly old fashioned.
This is a quantum leap in bringing kinetic design into interior
design, said Niko Vidakovic, Chief Interior Designer, Ford of
Europe. This type of visual innovation, linking the form language
of the interior so strongly with the exterior, is something we
believe no other company is doing.
Pronounced sculpting characterises the upper instrument panel,
created by the hands of Ford interior designer Tiago Diaz and
supervisor Ernst Reim. Full surfaces and flowing contours on
interior elements especially the instrument panel and door panels
reflect the kinetic design elements on the exterior of the
vehicle. These elements combine to create an enveloping feeling for
the vehicles occupants, contrasting the airiness provided by the
panoramic glass roof.
New Aesthetic Inspired by Mobile Phones
The Ford Verve Concept was designed for the generation that grew up
with mobile phones.
A predominant feature of the interior is the centre stack of the
instrument panel. Aesthetically, it follows the curves and contours
of the instrument panel shape, soaring up with an eye-pleasing
winged effect to frame a large-screen, colour Ford Convers+ system
incorporated in the upper dash. The Ford Convers+ system
incorporated in the concept is the latest-generation Human Machine
Interface (HMI) recently introduced in the Ford Mondeo. This alone
indicates the level of sophistication incorporated in the Ford Verve
Concept small-car vision.
Functionally, a key element of the centre stack design is the
decoupling of the traditional elements of the entertainment system
the screen, control elements and the electronics. Separating these
elements allowed designers to place controls and buttons for optimal
ergonomic positioning in a design that resembles the logic of a
This new approach means that the Ford Verve Concept introduces a
completely new aesthetic a new approach to the form and function
of interacting with underlying technologies. The unique architecture
also embraces other key systems, including navigation and in-car
Every button and switch was crafted with the kind of minute
attention to detail that characterises good mobile phone designs.
This system philosophy gives the Ford Verve Concept instrument panel
centre stack a different feel than that of traditional automotive
"A new generation of buyers raised with mobile electronic devices
would feel right at home in this new automotive interior, one that
exceeds the standards typical in the small-car segment," said
The concept's heating/ventilation controls, highlighted in a lozenge
shape at the midpoint of the centre stack, feature large twist dials
which were inspired by the sculpture found in high quality power
The centre stack structure flows into a centre console, which
provides stowage areas, including a tray for a mobile phone or MP3
player as well as a large bin for a purse or shoulder bag near the
The centre stack is like the art gallery of the car, Vidakovic
said. The combination of the sculpture of the upper instrument
panel, the rich interior colours and materials and the
jewellery-like brightwork is very distinctive.
The primary gauges speedometer and rev counter are uniquely
framed by binocular-shaped, short tunnels of brightwork which
complement the centre stack and contrast the rich interior colours
like a fashion accessory.
Ford Verve Concepts steering wheel is another work of sculpture.
Its crash pad, sculpted of soft-feel material and framed in
brightwork, provides a rich tactile and visual centrepiece for the
Ford oval badge. The left and right spokes of the three-spoke design
incorporate the toggle controls for the HMI system.
Rich, Harmonious Colours
From the instrument panel to the seats, the Ford Verve Concept is
trimmed elegantly in a harmonious blend of magentas. Materials were
inspired by the exclusive fabrics and leathers of haute couture,
according to Ruth Pauli, Chief Designer, Colours and Trims, Ford of
Colour plays an important role in emotionalising our products,
Pauli said. With Ford Verve Concept, we are striving for a very
precise expression of a certain style. Expressive colours in the
right harmonies and contrasts. Soft yet intense. Good materials like
glove-leather thats beautiful to touch. These details are helping
us bring a feeling of premiumness into the volume small car world.
The harmonies and contrasts of the concept are distinctive. The
portfolio of materials used by Pauli, colour and trim specialist
Ulrike Dahm and other members of the Ford Design Europe team
* Deep burgundy leather for the upper instrument panel, contrasted
in the lower area by a slightly green-hued black leather
* The seats are covered in deep burgundy leather trimmed with
electric magenta piping
Small elements of the interior even control stalks on the steering
column reflect an attention to detail from the team inspired by
the packaging of luxury cosmetics, which often incorporate
sophisticated, expensive-looking details to convey brand appeal.
Such small packaging requires the precise execution of every detail
and the right expression, tonal quality and saturation of colours.
Together, these elements combine to create a strong statement of
consistency, harmony and quality that makes the Ford Verve Concept
such a cohesive design statement, Pauli said. It is this
cohesiveness that will make this concept appeal to a modern,
Gauging Public Reaction in Frankfurt
As product development of a new generation of Ford small cars
continues behind the scenes, Ford of Europe is hoping to gauge
public reaction to the Ford Verve Concept during the Frankfurt Motor
European design chief Martin Smith said this and other opportunities
in the near future for public feedback will be important drivers of
the ultimate Ford small-car design direction.
The Ford Verve Concept is a dynamic first public expression
directionally of some of the thinking that will be contributing to
the design DNA of our next-generation products. At this stage, we
have had the freedom to be radically innovative, but Im confident
about the realistic possibilities for kinetic design to embrace this
segment of vehicles.