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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ford Shows The Evos Concept & A Europe Only Baby Engine

The Ford Evos design study, formally introduced here Monday on the eve of the 2011 Frankfurt auto show, is the “new face of Ford” and is expected to influence styling on all its coming cars, said J Mays, the company’s chief designer.

“People look at this vehicle and ask, ‘Are you trying to move Ford upscale in the marketplace?’” Mr. Mays said. “I tell them, ‘We’re going to be giving our vehicles a premium look, without the price premium.’”

Reprising his talking points from an earlier presentation in Michigan last month, Mr. Mays said the design was not difficult to adapt for a production-intent vehicle, the doors notwithstanding.

“Gull-wing doors are for show cars, so the interior can be more easily photographed,” he said with a smile. “They’re not coming to production cars anytime soon. You’d have some overhead clearance problems with them in your garage.”

Aside from that, Mr. Mays said that “significant elements” of the Evos design would be evident in a new production-intent vehicle to be unveiled in January at the Detroit auto show.

“This is a design that has relevance in Ford’s worldwide markets,” he said. “It won’t be limited to any geographical region. Our philosophy is still ‘One Ford’ with this vehicle. The same cars will be available worldwide.”

Exactly what car might be first to be imbued with Evos DNA is open to considerable conjecture, but the next model in Ford’s current lineup that is due for redesign might be its midsize sedan, which is sold as the Fusion in North America and the Mondeo in Europe. The Evos is similar in size to those vehicles.

When asked about what size engine might fit in the rather short nose of the Evos, Mr. Mays said, “One of our 4- or 6-cylinder engines.”

“There’s more room up front than it looks,” Mr. Mays said. “There’s a lot of space under the windshield. We pulled the windshield angle and the A pillar pretty far forward because the design team liked the look of certain old Ferraris with similar angles.”

In his estimation, Mr. Mays said the signature feature of the Evos was its “laser-cut” headlamps, which he said would make the current generation of very large headlights soon obsolete. “It gives us better lighting, allows us to lower the nose for a more aerodynamic front, and allows to tie in more styling elements,” he said.

Ford also unveiled a 1-liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine, the smallest engine Ford has ever made. Stephen Odell, chairman and chief executive of Ford of Europe, said the engine would be available next year in certain Focus models sold in Europe. Mark Schirmer, a Ford spokesman, said in conversation that the engine would subsequently arrive in Asia and North America, though he did not offer a timeframe for its introduction in those markets.

Mr. Odell said the engine, in turbocharged form, could produce about 118 horsepower and “significantly” improve fuel economy, although he did not supply specific fuel economy numbers.

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