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Detroit show: Ford Kuga’s Aussie interior connection

Inside job: Australian designer Dennis Sartorello (centre) sees his interior design for the Vertrek come to reality.

Ford’s show-stealing Vertrek concept includes a dose of Aussie design ingenuity

12 Jan 2011

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in DETROIT

FORD’S European design boss Martin Smith has praised a young Australian interior designer for his work on the Vertrek compact SUV concept at this year’s Detroit auto show.

“A guy from Australia called Dennis Sartorello did the car he did a lot of the interior and he did a great job,” said Mr Smith.

“I am particularly proud of the interior. The whole interior was done digitally, and is loosely based on the Iosis Max concept (from the 2009 Geneva motor show).

"It has a very slim instrument panel that looks like it is floating with a wing-like section. It is something we are constantly developing and this is the latest evolution of that.

“And the rocker panel on the concept car actually comes out from underneath the door. It is actually a working step.”“He (Sartorello) should be very excited with the result.”

Mr Smith said that improving the next-generation Kuga’s rear packaging was one of the Ford’s main objectives, with the Vertrek concept boasting a significantly larger cargo area compared to the current vehicle.

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“We wanted more space back there … because it is one of the criticisms of the Kuga,” he said.

Ford has designed its next-generation compact SUV to have a more international appeal than the existing Kuga, which was originally seen as a Europe-only proposition.

“The Vertrek design was researched in Asia while the actual production car has also been researched all around the world, and with good results in Asia. But whether it has been tested in Australia I don’t know.

“We wanted to make the car more dynamic, to try and convey more efficiency through the profile, and try and include some of the nice surprise and delight features (like the interior).”

Mr Smith said the Vertrek Concept is the latest iteration of Ford’s Kinetic design theme, but adheres to the basic stylistic principles of the current Kuga.

“We went with slimmer lamps – since they seem to have reached their limit (of size) – there is tighter and more controlled surfacing, and the kick-up around the wheel arches (is more pronounced).

“We also have a bolder look at the front that is very similar to the latest Focus.”“The concept is a close vision of what Ford’s next-generation compact SUV will look like … and you will recognise the production car (in this). We hope it gets a very strong response here in Detroit.”

The Vertrek took about nine months to go from sketch to reality, was designed at Ford’s design studio in Cologne and built in Turin.

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