Future Models - Ford 2015 Mustang
Ford Australia part of next Mustang’s design
Global icon: Ford’s product chief Derrick Kuzak says the Mustang is not just a US icon but a global one, and that it’s now common for Australia and other subsidiaries to have a hand in such models.
Product boss reveals Ford Aus has role in reshaping America’s iconic pony car
3 March 2011
FORD’S next-generation Mustang could have a distinctly Australian flavour, with Ford Australia’s Broadmeadows-based design team involved in submitting styling ideas for the redesigned muscle car to head office in Detroit.
Ford Motor Company’s group vice-president for global product development, Derrick Kuzak, has told US industry journal Automotive News at the Geneva motor show this week that studios outside North America have, for the first time in the Mustang’s 47-year history, become involved in styling the iconic sportscar.
He also used the Australian designed and engineered Ranger utility – the first global vehicle designed by Ford Australia – as an example of international product co-operation now being used across the Ford world.
“It is a common process we (now) use on every vehicle,” Mr Kuzak told AN.
“When we embark on a new product, particularly one that is all-new, it involves all of the studios. Then J (Mays) and the design team pick the best of those themes.”
Mr Mays is Ford’s group vice-president of global design and chief creative officer. He told GoAuto at the Detroit motor show in January that Ford Australia was also competing with design studios in Dearborn (US), Dunton (UK) and Cologne (Germany) to win the contract for the next-generation Falcon – a final decision on which is due soon and is likely to see a move to a front-wheel drive platform.
From top: Ford Ranger, flagship Ford Ranger Wildtrak and Chevrolet Camaro.
Mr Mays said “I wouldn’t be holding my breath for rear-wheel drive” for future Falcons, while at the Paris motor show last September he told us that Ford Australia’s design team was involved in four different programs, one of which now appears to be the Mustang.
“They are contributing to major programs that we are working on, whether they are sold in Australia or not,” Mr Mays said in Paris. “We have got them involved in four different programs at the moment.
“They are an integral part of our design organisation … on everything from trucks to passenger cars.
“Next Falcon is just starting to shape up, and they’re contributing to that as well. We have a global team, and a global design competition on the design programs, and the Broadmeadows team, along with Cologne and Dearborn, are all working on derivatives.”
With Mustang, Ford has not confirmed whether the design and development program in which Australia is involved includes engineering, as was the case with Ranger and which Holden enjoys as the design and engineering source for Mustang’s arch-rival, the Chevrolet Camaro.
Camaro is built off the same vehicle architecture as the Commodore, known as Zeta.
If the Mustang development program does include engineering, this could explain Ford’s reluctance to confirm in absolute terms whether the next Falcon will move to a front-drive vehicle architecture shared with models such as the US Taurus, or remain rear-wheel drive on a development of the pony car’s platform.
Overseas reports indicate that the new-generation Mustang and Falcon are both due to appear in 2015.
In Geneva, Mr Kuzak told Automotive News that Ford’s Dearborn studio will have responsibility to turn the selected styling theme for the Mustang – a car he described as “not just an icon in North America, it is an icon globally” – into a production vehicle.
As GoAuto has reported, Holden’s Port Melbourne-based design team was also recently asked to submit a design for the seventh-generation Chevrolet Corvette, which if adopted could result in the iconic American muscle car being styled by a GM design team outside the US for the first time in its history.
A spokesman for Ford Australia was unable to confirm whether the Broadmeadows design team was working specifically on the next-generation Mustang, adding that it was not a certainty that engineering would also be part of any development program.
“While we have the capability here to design and engineer an all-new vehicle – as with (the) coming Ranger – by virtue of the fact we are part of the design proposal process does not in any way mean we will be engineering the vehicle as well,” he said.
Ford Australia is also understood to be currently involved in developing a compact car for the Chinese market, following on from the (previous-generation) Fiesta-based Figo light car it has developed for India.