Martin Smith on why next C-Max will usher in new design language
2 March 2009

Ford's Iosis Max is one of the biggest concept cars of the Geneva show. But as Ford's European design director Martin Smith explains, the Iosis Max will have a major influence on the next C-Max and Focus.

What’s the thinking behind the Iosis Max?

It is the third Iosis concept, all of which are designed to communicate Ford’s new design strategy. We’ve just renewed our smallest models [the Ka and Fiesta] so now it’s time to think about our C-segment range. 

Where does the Iosis Max fit into the future Ford range?

Ford has built up a particular competence in designing family cars and MAVs [Multi Activity Vehicles], particularly with the S-Max, which attracted more people to Ford than we could have imagined. This concept is not the production car, but we want to develop the MAV into the next phase, something more dramatic and expressive. We want to show that a small people-mover can be an exciting design, something expressive and desirable — a compact car that’s dramatic.

It’s very different from the current C-Max. Will the next C-Max and Focus start to converge into one vehicle?

In real life this concept is the height of a proper MAV, not a five-door hatch. We feel that some customers want high-point driving positions and some want low ones.

What about the unusual doors and hatchback?

The Max has a double-hinged tailgate, which can be opened in confined spaces, and rear-hinged doors, which make it easier to get into the rear in a car park. Even the bonnet is designed to hinge over against the windscreen.

But surely the interior is too dramatic to make it into production?

We want to get more sculpture and expression into the design of the instrument panel, taking it to the next level. Many of the interior volumes are slim and slender. We’re also looking to eliminate buttons, so we’re exploring touch screens and touch-sensitive surfaces.

The next generation of Fords will have to be sold globally. Will Kinetic Design appeal to all markets?

We think tastes are converging because the global information channels allow people to know about new trends and products immediately. With the Fiesta, which is aimed at design-aware younger customers around the globe, we found potential buyers had similar expectations and aspirations.

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