SHANGHAI: Design teams clash over Ford Escort show car
Ford is having something of an internal spat over the credit for its Shanghai show car, according to The Australian newspaper.
Work on the car, a four-door larger than the Focus sedan that revives the famous Escort badge, was led by the 1,100-strong design and development team in Melbourne, Ford's new Asia-Pacific design director, Joel Piaskowski, told the newspaper last week.
However, senior Ford executives at the Shanghai show, including former Australian chief Marin Burela, now based in China, shrugged off the role of its studios in Victoria, saying the Escort concept is a "global car".
Asia-Pacific president Dave Schoch said the car was shaped by Chinese customer input and declined to credit Australia. "Our product development process is global," he said. "We've got bits and pieces of it done in Europe, in Australia, in Nanjing."
The newspaper noted, however, that Ford does not have Chinese design centre and Ford Australia sent a delegation to Shanghai that claimed the design as their own.
The concept car is based on the Focus and targets Chinese consumers’ liking for rear-seat amenities and preference for sedans over hatchbacks.
Ford expects the Chinese vehicle market to reach 32m by the end of the decade and plans huge expansion in the region with five new plants opening in the next few years.
Schoch also refused to say whether Ford's Broadmeadows plant in Australia would continue beyond the life cycle of the Falcon and Territory, due to end in three years.
He added: "We've made commitments are we're sticking to them. We have nothing to announce beyond 2016 and are still evaluating."