Ford has implemented some fundamental changes in its design process in recent years, with plans to roll out more concept cars moving forward, designing vehicles for local markets in local markets, developing new models using smaller teams, and revamping the way its designers think. The results of those changes recently paid off when the sixth-gen Ford Bronco won an IF Design Gold Award from iF International Forum Design GmbH, but the company’s new design chief, Anthony Lo, plans to quite literally flip this process inside out with Ford interior design leading the way, as he recently explained to Automotive News.
“In the past, exterior design would always take the lead; it’s part of what attracts you to the showroom,” Lo said. “But because of the amount of features within the vehicle that you can control as a user, the user interface becomes more and more important. I think this is really the main change in our industry. We’d of course put as much love into the exterior, but it’s just that the priority has switched.”
“The Detroit 3 have generally not led the industry in interior design,” added Karl Brauer, executive automotive analyst at iSeeCars. “But I think it makes sense when you consider the interior’s where a lot of the technological change has occurred the last 10 years. Everything’s much more smartphone-oriented and touch screen-oriented.”
With connected vehicle technology slowing expanding and taking over as a user’s main focus inside the vehicle, this approach is designed to completely revamp an ages-old process that has traditionally started on the outside. As Lo points out, the shift toward electric vehicles is also impacting interior design in a big way, as it provides designers with more room to work with – and in turn, freedom – to try out new ideas and create larger interior spaces for occupants.