SHANGHAI, Jan. 17, 2022 – Ford inaugurated today its China Design Center in Shanghai, the company’s sixth global design center, and premiered the all-new Ford Mondeo, the latest model in Ford’s growing portfolio of vehicles to reflect its “Progressive Energy in Strength” design language in China.
First Full Fledge Design Center in Central Shanghai
The China Design Center’s inauguration marks a major milestone in Ford’s business transformation through the implementation of its China 2.0 plan to deliver “Best of Ford, Best of China” vehicles and customer experience.
The state-of-the-art facility expands Ford’s existing design studio to include a showroom and in-house clay model workshop, making Ford the first automaker to operate a full-fledge design center in central Shanghai.
Capable of operating independently and focusing on vehicles for the Chinese market, the China Design Center houses a complete range of automotive design capabilities and facilities deploying industry-leading design technologies. These include exterior, interior and color and materials design; digital experience design; design strategy; digital modelling; design engineering; and clay modelling, milling and fabrication. Located alongside in the same complex are cross-discipline teams such as Advanced Product Marketing, Enterprise Connectivity, the D-Ford Human-Centered Design Studio, and access to teams from Ford's Engineering R&D Center in Nanjing.
The expanded capability and increased integration enables Ford to design vehicles in China from blank page to full-sized clay model under one roof. Using augmented reality and virtual reality (VR), designers can test and refine digital concepts before having clay models developed. After milling and fabrication, the models move to a specialist area for review in 3D form, followed by an immersive digital review through VR and 8K LED Powerwalls. This combination of high-end technology and hands-on craftsmanship is central to Ford’s vision to develop vehicles in China that accentuate the nuances of the local design language and elevate local aesthetics to a higher level than previously possible.
“Under our ‘Best of Ford, Best of China’ commitment, we are accelerating the delivery of the Ford+ plan. The launch of this world-class design center is our latest step to modernize,” said Anning Chen, president and CEO of Ford China. “The industry is rapidly pivoting to electrification, connectivity and intelligent technologies. Ford’s China Design Center will help us deliver best-in-class products with Ford’s distinctive design DNA and pioneering innovation spirit that will define our offerings to customers in China. We are excited to see Ford's iconic heritage shine through designs that reflect Chinese innovation and craftsmanship.”
Pursuit of Local Design Essence
The pursuit of local design essence is what drew Ford to Shanghai, where it first established a design studio in 2012. That studio has now expanded to a full-fledge design center, aiming to attract top local and global designers.
“Shanghai is a fascinating city full of incredible style, design and artistic inspiration,” said Simon Brook, chief designer of Ford China. “Locating the studio downtown attracts the best people to our team and allows them to explore the local and multi-nation culture and to nurture and inspire their creative thinking.”
The district surrounding the design center is a growing hub for start-ups, game developers and tech companies, making it a young, vibrant and energetic neighborhood. Over three-quarters of the design center’s creative team are Chinese designers aged under 35, providing an ideal mix of fresh thinking, local knowledge and global outlook. The number of designers has increased tenfold within the last two years.
“That deep understanding of Chinese aesthetic combined with the best of Ford’s global know-how is seen in the design language emanating from the studio,” said Max Wolff, design director of Ford China and international markets. “Chinese aesthetic preference is built upon the principles of clarity in build, harmony within composition, and detailed craftsmanship and you can see that reflected in the designs coming from the studio.”
“Progressive Energy in Strength” – All-new Mondeo Showcases Evolution of Ford Design Language
“Progressive Energy in Strength” is the design language developed by Ford with Chinese consumers’ aesthetics sensibility in mind. It embodies three fundamental expressional design principles Ford strives to achieve in its designs for China: commanding, agile and responsive.
Ford’s all-new Mondeo showcases these design elements. The front end’s coast-to-coast LED lighting immediately emphasizes the vehicle's width, giving it a commanding presence at first sight. Mondeo’s sleek silhouette, accelerated hood line and speedy shoulder lines create a sense of dynamic fluid agility. The rear is in harmony with the front, with coast-to-coast lighting again emphasizing width and creating an aesthetic that is both refined and muscular.
“Mondeo says a lot about who we are today and what we intend to deliver going forward,” said Anthony Lo, Global Chief Design Officer, Ford Motor Company. “You will see new possibilities emerging for a new generation of vehicles that will truly resonate with the emotions and mobility aspirations of people worldwide. The China Design Center is so much more than a building. It embodies our optimism for the future as well as the creativity, determination and hard work of our talented team."
Along with the Ford Product Development Center in Nanjing, Ford China New Energy Center, and Ford China Innovation Center, the China Design Center is among the four pillars underpinning Ford’s brand transformation in the world’s largest auto market.