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Old 09-09-2003, 10:28   #1 (permalink)
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E.U.: Ford Visos

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Ford signals future design direction with dramatic Visos design study

Ford of Europe has issued the following press release:

Introduction: Derrick Kuzak, Vice President – Product Development, Ford of Europe

This business is about cars. Cars are about passion. And passion is about indulging the senses: the feel of the road… the smell of leather… the sound of an engine… and most of all the looks of a well-styled machine.

Good looks on a car can be understated and functional. Good looks can also be outrageous and seductive. But good looks always make a statement – about who you are and what you stand for as a company.

That’s why we’ve created the Ford Visos.

The Visos whispers passion in every curve, every seam, every angle. It is an emotional prodigy of our young and eager design team. It’s the first bespoke design study we’ve treated ourselves to in several years.

But most importantly it is a Ford. It speaks Ford’s design language, the visual culture that unites all the members of our family of cars. It builds on a history of Ford icons like the Model-T, the GT 40, the original Escort, the Puma and the Capri. And it says something about where we’re heading in the coming years.

Of course we also let our technology team in on the party as well. The Visos is a showcase for new ideas in automotive electronics, use of space, and interaction between man and machine.

The Ford Visos. It’s about the future of the blue oval. It’s about a great team. It’s about passion.

Chris Bird, Ford of Europe Design Director, on Visos:

It is every car designer’s ambition to be able to express creativity in a three-dimensional form – to be able to go beyond the rational confines of creating a production car and to create something that pushes at the limits of practical car design. While it is rewarding to see the results of a design team’s work driving around on the streets every day, it is something of a dream to be able to create that ‘one off’ vehicle that looks to the future and stirs the emotions.

We wanted Visos to be a car from which we could take ideas and features and flow them through into future models. Above all, we wanted it to remind everyone that, despite the hugely competitive nature of today’s automotive business, the young design group inside Ford of Europe can express themselves in a more esoteric way.

We knew the sky wasn’t the limit – we needed to set targets, we needed to define the parameters, and we needed to make sure it was undoubtedly a Ford. As Ford designers, we also wanted to ensure that the vehicle we created would send a message about how we see the European “blue oval” car of the future evolving, in terms of design language and cues, and also in terms of customer-focused technology.

Visos is the fusion of a true sports car and a luxury touring car. It adapts seamlessly to the driver’s demands, delivering a motoring experience that is as stirring and inspiring as the appearance of the vehicle itself. Visos has ample space for up to four adults, and many innovations that clearly set it apart from any current production vehicle.

It is an exciting car, packed with innovation and new technologies. The inside bristles with LCD panels and futuristic controls, while the outside remains sleek thanks to ‘Active Surfacing’ – a technique that sees the technologies of the vehicle hidden, until they are called for by the driver, the road condition or the vehicle’s dynamics.

With Visos we had the opportunity to be dramatic. Yet we had to discipline our thinking, so as to create a vehicle that is not only emotionally stirring and inspiring, but also one that is practical and feasible. The Visos delivers on all of these aspects. It is disciplined drama.


Visos interior in detail:

Few things are as changeable as people’s moods. Imagine being able to change the inside of your car to suit your mood – in exactly the same way that you can change your clothing or your make-up.

At the push of a button, the inside of the Visos can change from a laid-back saloon, into a sports car. The lighting, soft and calming in Comfort mode, can turn brighter, more purposeful – while the seats automatically reshape to hug your body. The steering wheel slides closer to the driver, and the angle of the seat adjusts to a more sports car like position. The instruments switch to Sport mode supplying an array of information to suit the keen driver and the gear lever is deployed from the centre console to operate the sequential shifter on the advanced ASM transmission.

Push the button again, and you’re back in Comfort mode. Gentle lighting is resumed and the seats are restored to a more comfort-orientated configuration. This defines the adaptability of the Visos and its ability to configure itself for two distinctly different driving modes.

Passenger needs are also fully catered for with the front passenger seat offering a full, first-class recline mode and an extending footrest. With the front passenger seat in non-recline mode the Visos provides adult-sized individual rear seats divided by the full-length centre console that runs from the instrument panel through to the rear bulkhead. Mounted on this console, between the rear seats, are dedicated controls for the rear seat audio/visual entertainment systems.

Visos programmable characteristics:
“I miss tinkering under a car’s bonnet. After all, many of us are real car enthusiasts, and enthusiasts will always appreciate having more control,” says Chris Hamilton, Visos Exterior Designer.

With the Visos, Ford is welcoming the enthusiast back under the bonnet. An LCD monitor, mounted to one side of the engine, displays the current set-up. By plugging a laptop computer into a USB port, next to the LCD monitor, the user can change settings that control such attributes as the dampers, rev limiter and much more.

Users can even download preset configurations from a dedicated Ford server on the Internet, or swap setting files with other owners.

Visos is powered by a 6 cylinder bi-turbo engine. It has a power output of 350 PS, and 400 Nm of torque is available. The engine is mated to a 6-speed advanced ASM transmission, driving all four wheels.

Visos exterior in detail:

Visos has classic coupé styling, with a sharply curved C-pillar, reminiscent of the iconic Capri. The B-pillar is hidden behind tinted glass, giving the side-view a smooth, uninterrupted flow. The A-pillar is sharply raked, consistent with coupé styling. Two intake vents are situated on the rear three quarter panel, while 20-inch wheels fill out the lightly flared wheel arches.

The uninterrupted side glass is matched by the top surfaces of the car to give an appearance similar to a futuristic aircraft cockpit. The windscreen, the roof and the rear screen blend into one, incorporating at the rear the deployable aerodynamic spoiler and in the roof the retractable panels that give easy access to the rear seats.

From the rear, Visos sports wide shoulders, accentuated by angled horseshoe-shaped rear lights. A third brake light is mounted in the rear hatch. This light also accommodates additional cameras for rear visibility. A recessed number plate housing echoes the lines of the rear hatch, while two chrome-tipped exhaust pipes hint at the car’s performance potential.

The front of Visos consists of a deep air dam, with twin air intakes that reflect the same design as the exhaust pieces. A narrow grille with a chrome surround sits above the air dam.

An inverted version of the rear lights are used in the front of Visos, with a blue strip of light surrounding the composite LED headlamp behind a clear lens. The bonnet slopes gently from the nose to the windscreen, with a pair of crease lines that run into the front lights.
Attached Images
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File Type: jpeg norm_2_orig.jpeg (23.3 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpeg norm_4_orig.jpeg (23.1 KB, 13 views)
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Old 09-09-2003, 10:48   #2 (permalink)
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Ford bets on high performance coupe at Frankfurt show

By John McCormick / Autos Insider

FRANKFURT, Germany - Coupes are every designer's dream but nightmares for finance chiefs, because consumers love them one day and leave them the next.

But despite the fickle nature of the coupe market, at today's opening of the Frankfurt auto show, at least two carmakers are counting on renewed interest in segment.

Ford of Europe has high hopes for the Visos concept, which observers suggest could become a replacement for the 1970s Capri coupe. At the very least Ford Motor Co. hopes the Visos will divert attention from the embattled state of its European arm, recently stricken by a huge financial loss and sudden departure of its president, Martin Leach.

At the upper end of the two-door coupe market, BMW AG is using Frankfurt to showcase its new 6 Series to the public for the first time. Coming to the US next spring, the two-plus-two 645i packs BMW's 325bhp 4.4-litre V-8 and will be followed by a convertible version. BMW last generation 6 Series went out of production in 1989.

In Ford's case, the Capri was last sold in Europe and the US in the mid-1980s. Whether the Visos could rekindle the public's appetite for a performance coupe from Ford is uncertain, but the company's European operation desperately needs a halo car to spur interest in its respected but slow selling mainstream models.

Ford admits inspiration for the Visos came in part from the Capri and also the 1960s GT40 race car. "The Visos gives a strong hint at the shape of things to come," says Chris Bird, Ford of Europe design director.

Coupes traditionally make rear passengers suffer in cramped seats. But the Visos, despite being only slightly longer than the Focus compact, fits four adults comfortably, claims Bird. The secret, says interior designer Paul Campbell, was to give the Visos a wide stance in order to move instrument panel equipment into the car's sides and thus reduce the size of the dashboard. Another advantage of the design is the doors. "We decided to use doors that open in a conventional way, but extended them to cut deep into the roofline," says Campbell. "The roof itself lifts up and folds inward on either side, for easy access to the rear seats."

Though the BMW 6 Series and the original Capri were rear-wheel-drive, the Visos concept has a four-wheel-drivetrain. Ford has echoed the former 6 Series in using an in-line six-cylinder engine in the Visos. Equipped with twin turbochargers, the Ford 3.0-litre engine develops 350bhp, although a production version would likely be tuned down considerably. Torque output of 290lb ft is delivered to all four wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.

Considering the precarious nature of Ford's finances, a production coupe seems like a risky proposition, but designer Bird says the car is not just a "pie in the sky" concept. "It is dramatic, yet achievable," he maintains.

(Photo)Ford's Visos concept hints at future production cars, possibly a replacement for the Capri coupe.
Attached Images
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My next Ford.....
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