26 November 2007

Ford Verve 4-Door Concept Debut in Guangzhou

GUANGZHOU, China, November 19, 2007 – Ford is revealing more about its vision for a new global small car family at Auto Guangzhou. Ford today revealed the second Verve Concept – a four-door notchback.

The dynamic Ford Verve Concept four-door notchback is a star of the fifth annual Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition. The fact that Ford staged the global reveal of the four-door Verve Concept at Guangzhou signals the importance of Asia in Ford’s global plans.

Sporty and coupe-like, the Verve Concept notchback provides a very clear vision about Ford’s future small car design direction. The three-door hatchback Verve Concept was a star of the recent Frankfurt Motor Show in Europe, and it too is also under the spotlights at Guangzhou.

Ford will unveil the third and last Verve Concept in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

“With this new four-door Verve Concept, the picture of Ford's big plans for the small-car segment is becoming clearer,” said Phil Spender, Chief Operation Officer of Ford Motor (China) Ltd. “Our future small car is being developed as a global car. It will be designed in Europe, engineered in Germany and manufactured globally. These two Verve Concepts demonstrate how confident Ford is in its direction and its appeal to consumers here in China.”

Ford’s European design team created the Verve Concepts, which successfully apply Ford's kinetic design philosophy for the first time to a small car. The two Verve Concepts clearly display a European flair and premium touches not expected in this segment.

Once all have been revealed, the trilogy of Verve concept cars will provide an advanced indication of Ford’s design vision well in advance of the production models. This approach is similar to the way in which the iosis Concept preceded the new Ford Mondeo.

European Design

Side by side in Guangzhou, the two Verve Concepts bring the latest wave of Ford's kinetic design to the heart of Asia. Their colours are inspired by the world of fashion; the regal frosted grape of the new Verve Concept four-door notchback complements the bold magenta of the Frankfurt three-door hatchback like a well-coordinated ensemble.

“First it was the hatchback and now a very exciting and dynamic notchback,” said the father of kinetic design, Martin Smith, Ford’s Executive Director of European Design. “Looking at these concepts together, you can just imagine how exciting the successor to the Ford Fiesta will be when it hits the market.”

Public Response in Guangzhou

Ford designers, buoyed by the enthusiastic reaction in Europe to the first Verve Concept, will be carefully studying reactions to the new notchback by Chinese consumers.

Ford European design chief Smith said, “These Verve Concepts are 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 I’m confident about the realistic possibilities for kinetic design to embrace this segment of vehicles.”

The latest Verve Concept builds on the very distinctive look of its hatchback sibling. These two concept vehicles share strong front-end graphics that, with the advent of the new Mondeo, are now becoming recognised as the bold, new face of Ford.

The notchback body form of the new concept family is linked with the hatchback through the use of form language composed of dynamic lines and full surfaces – the signature of kinetic design.

The new notchback execution brings new hints about Ford’s kinetic design approach to sedan variants of its future small car family.

Smith’s exterior design team – led by European Exterior Chief Designer Stefan Lamm – took full advantage of the notchback shape to stretch the kinetic design elements and create a very sleek and dynamically poised personality.

The notchback displays a sleek, pillarless side window profile providing a bold graphic statement, along with strongly defined wheel arches that communicate tension and muscularity. Its dramatic C-pillar shape contributes to this feeling of dynamism, while the rear body and decklid shapes coherently build on the toned and fit kinetic design look with full surfaces and bold lines.

As any top fashion model on the catwalk, Guangzhou’s new Verve Concept is dressed well. From its seductive colour to the smallest detail, Verve Concept evokes an air of premium quality not usually found in the small-car segment.

Despite the functional differences with the hatchback shape, the notchback’s rear design clearly displays the same kinetic design influences.

The rear glass of the Verve notchback is shaped to correspond with the forms of the high-mounted, two-piece tail lamps. This unique and premium execution, first seen on the new Mondeo, is now translated into a smaller car.

A dark chrome diffuser at the lower bumper is consistent with the design of the hatchback but shaped specifically for the notchback design.

Like its sibling, the notchback Verve’s face is bold and sporty, yet friendly and engaging. The front 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 a strong eggcrate graphic; its vertical and horizontal blades bonded by an array of intriguing ‘bullet’ shapes. The lower grille and badge treatment are the design team’s signature elements to communicate the Ford design DNA in future products.

The bonnet features highly sculpted dynamic forms. This form treatment combines with the more pronounced, rearward-stretching head lamp units – inspired by Mondeo – to give the face of the Verve a friendly, open and inviting personality. The prominent headlamps feature two projector beams and a light-emitting diode (LED) array.

The two Verve Concepts share a distinctive 18-inch, 12-spoke, two-piece alloy wheel design that lends more drama to the car. The wheels have a precise, jewel-like feel to their design. Both Verve Concepts’ are wearing low-profile tyres featuring a sidewall stripe that complements the exterior body colour.

“With a small car, for example a B-segment car compared to a larger car, we believe we can play up – or amplify – key elements of the kinetic design form language,” Lamm said. “It’s 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 and this new project.”

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