The world's oldest volume car manufacturer chose to address what is arguably its biggest problem at its home motor show; that it's become known in the US as a maker of pick-up trucks and SUVs, while its cars are overlooked. Both of its big Detroit concept debuts were cars; specifically, a tough-looking large saloon called the Interceptor, and an innovative people-mover called the Airstream.
The Interceptor (pictured above) was one of two attempts at Detroit by Ford to extend the use of its Mustang platform. The big, bluff concept is based on the same ‘Built Ford Tough’ philosophy that underpins the company’s best-selling F-series pick-up truck family.
It’s powered by a 400bhp 5.0-litre V8 ‘Cammer’ Ford racing engine that runs on E85 bio-ethanol fuel. It’s connected via a six-speed manual gearbox to a live rear axle and rolls on 22in wheels.
‘All the way through the car we we’re looking to be super strong and super tough. You couldn’t be more American than the Interceptor’, said Brit designer David Woodhouse.
Inspired by the classic aluminium ‘Airstream’ caravan, Ford’s Airstream concept had a remarkable resemblance to Nissan’s Bevel. Like the Bevel, Ford says the car is a ‘crossover model of the future’ and aimed at the ‘empty nest’ over-50s who have more time to travel. Ford says the American market for crossovers will account for three million sales annually by 2010.
According to the designer, Brit Jordan Bennett, much of the car’s styling, inside and out, was influenced by the 1960s cult film 2001: A Space Odyssey. ‘This car is meant to be about the joy of travel and exploration,’ he said.
Under the skin is a plug-in hybrid fuel cell that uses electrical power all the time, and delivers the equivalent of 41 miles per gallon.