Ford is enacting big changes to its global design team in the hopes of speeding up product development cycles and better defining a singular vision, Automotive News reports. The changes started earlier this month with Ford’s decision to make former Head of Design for Europe Joel Piaskowski the Head of Global Design responsible for cars and crossovers, with Head of Global Interior Design Amko Leenarts replacing him.
But Automotive News further reports that Chris Svensson, formerly Head of Design for the Americas, has been made Head of Global Design responsible for trucks, SUVs, and commercial vehicles. In effect, Piaskowski will oversee design of unibody-construction products, while Svensson will over see full-frame vehicles, perhaps with a few exceptions.
Additionally, Lincoln Design Director David Woodhouse has been made Director of Global Strategic Design, overseeing the growth of Ford’s global strategic design team on top of his prior role.
Ford designers will start working more collaboratively, says Automotive News, with Dearborn serving as a central location. The automaker’s Vice President of Design, Moray Callum, puts shorter product development times and a stronger focus on consumer experiences at the top of a list of things hoped to be gained.
Callum doesn’t see automotive design waning in importance, even as self-driving cars inch closer to becoming a reality. “I don’t think design will ever matter less [than it does today]” he says. “What we’re communicating by our design is very important. We want people to trust the car and the brand and we need to communicate that in the exterior and interior design.”