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By Richard Truett
Automotive News / January 15, 2004

Peter Horbury
Title: Executive director of design for North America
Company: Ford Motor Co.
Thesis: A nation's culture should be reflected in its cars.
Quote: "There are many, many possibilities of using American inspiration, American luxury and many American characteristics that will shape the cars of the future" at Lincoln.

Peter Horbury knows where he will find inspiration for a new design language for Ford Motor Co.'s troubled Lincoln and Mercury brands.

Horbury, who last month was named Ford's executive director of design for North America, plans to visit Lincoln-Mercury dealerships and attend focus groups, where he will talk with customers. He used that tactic to create a new design language for Volvo, where he was design chief before Ford bought the Swedish automaker in 1999.

Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress, Horbury said he will take Lincoln and Mercury designers with him to dealerships across the country. They will interview potential buyers and take dealers to dinner, asking them about their customers' needs.

"We did this in Italy for Volvo," Horbury said during an interview after his presentation. "We found out so much about Italians' needs for cars that market research never finds out."

Culture shapes cars

In his presentation at the World Congress, Horbury drew several pictures of cars and trucks from different countries, showing how each nation's culture influenced their designs.

"I am a great believer in a national identity in a car," he said. "I think we should promote the idea that a car comes from a certain place, and we use that as the inspiration for much of the design, just as we did with Volvo.

"That is a purely Swedish product," Horbury said. "The Alfa Romeos of today could only come from Italy, the Renaults could only come from France. They get their inspiration from their national identity."

Old Ford Fan
340 Posts
maybe we'll see a comeback of the wide sequential tailllamps...I hope!
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