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The Ford Motor Company has taken a swipe at Hyundai’s new design language, saying it will produce better premium-looking mainstream cars than the Korean car maker or other rivals.

Ford unveiled a new global city-sized SUV called the EcoSport (pictured below) last week in India, a model that follows the recently launched Focus small car in carrying the blue oval brand’s new styling direction.

Ford’s group vice president, design, and chief creative office, J Mays, told a small group of Australian motoring media including CarAdvice at the EcoSport’s launch that the baby SUV is an example of how Ford will achieve a more sophisticated design for its mainstream cars than rivals such as Hyundai.

“We’ve talked [last year] about visual premium-ness,” says Mays. “Premium doesn’t have to scream; premium can talk quietly.

“There’s a lot of frenetic design out there [in the new-car market]. I’m not criticising Hyundai, it’s just a different philosophy, but their [design language, officially called 'Fluidic Sculpture] is really all over the map, it’s really loud and fussy. I don’t think that’s premium and I really don’t think it’s sustainable.”

Hyundai has established its ‘fluidic sculpture’ design theme in recent years, with the styling that embraces numerous flowing creases featuring on models such as the ix35 compact SUV (above), i40 Tourer wagon and i45 mid-sized sedan (pictured top).

Mays says the stunning, Focus-based Evos concept (below) that Ford unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show signalled the end of the company’s successful ‘Kinetic’ design language, though says its new evolutionary styling approach hasn’t been given a name.

“It’s a simpler design language [than Kinetic] but is obviously based on Kinetic,” says Mays.

“We had Kinetic for five years but we’ve come up with enough changes to the [new styling] philosophy that we think we’re just going to call it the new global design language.

“Which is very catchy don’t you think!” he joked.

“We spend a lot of time on what makes a Ford a Ford in terms of how we design a car.

“If I back away from a car what I was want to see is what I call silhouette innovation so the profile of the vehicle should look different to other vehicles.

“So, for example, this vehicle [the EcoSport] – we’ve pulled the A-pillar about 250mm forward and it creates a much sleeker profile than you’d find on the majority of little SUVs on the road.”


  • Pops

    Pulling the A-pillar fwd just gives the car a stubby bonnet. I don’t think using their baby SUV (which is hardly a looker) is a opportune time to talk about their new “premium” design language…. Which is to rip off Aston Martin’s grill.

    How about if Hyundai just copy BMWs angel eyes or Audi’s spindle grill. I don’t particularly like Hyundais fluidic designs – but at least they came up with it themselves.

    Ford & premium are mutually exclusive & do not belong in the same sentence together.

    • Guest

      Hey Pops, Ford owned Aston and stole all the best designers before they sold it off.  There’s no mistaking why the new range of Fords look the way they do, it’s not a copy unlike other brands I could mention.  Build a bridge buddy.

      • Pops

        So because they owned AM previously they’re entitled to blatantly copy their trademark grille shape? Even if they managed to pinch some of their designers it doesnt entitle Ford to copy their grille silohette which has been an AM key design element for decades.

        Come back to me when u have an arguement that holds substance. Until then Ford are now lumped in with the Chinese knockoffs…

    • Ezz

      I wouldn’t say Hyundai have original designs. I can see major Merc CLS cues in the attached image, and dare I say AU Falcon circa 1998?

    • Patrick McGee

      newsflash…ford, hundai and jaguar are stealing the Astin design FRONT TO BACK!
      this evos looks like a DB through a 5% skew!

  • Johnny

    I would call ford’s new small suv a BRICK design.  

  • TJ

    Lashing out at one of your competitor’s isn’t a very ‘premium’ thing to do. Also a bit rich of Ford to be preaching about premium design when their own Focus hatchback is a mish-mash of curves, lines and angles.
    Although personally I do find the i45 overstyled and over-the-top, the i40 Tourer proves that Hyundai can actually blend tasteful amounts of fluidic sculpture with design consistency in a car. And now with ex-BMW designer Chris Chapman on board, I think Hyundai will be punching out more interesting designs to come compared to the EcoSport.

    • Sumpguard

         My faith in the posters in this blog is rapidlty being restored .Until tonight I was thinking I am the only one that sees that the Focus is a poorly executed mish mash. For mine the i45 hasn’t aged very well and is Hyundai’s weakest design however the Elantra is a fantastic looking car. The ix35 is still very much holding its pwn and I think they will be on a winner with the new i30.

         I agree with comments up the page that Ford are ripping off design rather than doing their own work. Rather sad then that they have turned their backs on the best design team in their camp right here in Oz. The falcon is superior to pretty much any sedan they have ever done but they won’t support it.Go figure!! I’ve never been a major fan of the falocn from an ownership point of view but it is a good looking sedan in its latest guise.

         It’s hard to see anything in this statement from ford other than fear of their competitors! Hyundai weren’t even on the radar a decade ago. Now look at them.

        

      • Nate

        I agree with both comments about the styling of the new Focus.  In my opinion, the back-end looks like it’s been pulled back and tightened one too many times, giving it that “I’ve been in too many times for face surgery” look and the front-end looks like it’s on steroids, bulging everywhere. 

        However, I think the Mondeo trumps the i45 for styling (and in most other areas too) and to be honest, I’ve always found the Falcon styling a bit bland.   

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YQLKLFNYP3UFBFAGOV2LNDSREA Robert Ryan

       Agreed, Then Mullaly’s snide remark about VW and “too many brands”. Car companies should look at their own performance before criticizing others.

  • K-poop

    Ford themselves aren’t perceived as “premium” as some of the europeans makers which they are competing againts. So I think Ford feels slightly threatened by Hyundai’s big leap in market shares over the recent years, because at this rate it wouldn’t take long for them to catch up or better Ford.

    Im not a big fan of Hyundai’s current design language, but gotta give them praise for the bold and sporty designs (such as the i40 touring)

  • Altezza

    It was not professional and mature approach that Ford has lashed at Hyundai. While I am not a big fan of Hyundai cars but I admire them for a huge improvement of their cars in such short time.

  • Golfschwein

    I agree that Hyundai’s i45 and i35 are somewhat overdone but, as Pops writes above, at least its their own work. The less ‘frenetic’ i20, i30, Elantra and i40 are better. The new Fusion and baby SUV are a little heavy handed themselves.

  • Martin

    I agree with what others have said. I’m not a fan of some of their styling either (ix35, i45), but at least it’s original and their own.

    It’s real easy for him to say these things now, but we’re still yet to see much of Ford’s new/evolved design language to make any real comparison. And copying Aston Martin’s grille doesn’t count as good design either. If Apple were Aston Martin they would have filed a law suit already. Haha.

  • Teddy Bear

    Hey You Women. Is this exactly what the Ford Heads have said or has it been taken out of context?
    BTW. Who own’s the aston look??? Wasn’t Ford in Control of Aston when that Face was penned??

    • Martin

      Look WAY back to the DB4. Same basic grille they use today, that Ford copied.

  • Jeff

    I’d put money on it that the Hyundai is better built, where is Fords 5 year warranty with an option of 8. Get your own house in order before you start bagging the opposition.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BW5YCIOPD3Y3XHOBGPB525AUKI Mr X

    Well they both make ugly looking cars so I’m not buying one any time soon.

  • bd

    Funny how Mays makes a dig at Hyundai’s corporate design language (which I don’t necessarily disagree with) when the Fiesta has headlights very similar to the Hyundai HED-2 concept and a body/greenhouse similar to the HED-3 concept (also the hexagonal-shaped grill was on those concepts back in 2006).
     
    Anyway, talking smack about “beating” Hyundai design is no big deal; beating Kia on the other hand…

  • Jg

    I don’t understand why the Mazda 3 is so popular in Australia.. In US & Canada it gets outsold by the Corolla, Civic, Elentra, focus etc..

    Personally the Elentra is the best small car in the segment followed by Cruze then Civic..

    Mediocrecity seems to do well in Australia.. I mean the corolla has been the top selling car in the past 3 months..

    • http://twitter.com/jackkl Jack Lewis

      The Mazda 3 is Canada’s best selling privately owned car, just like in Australia.

    • filippo

      Elantra followed by Cruze and Civic? I like your sense of humour Jg. Maybe you should have thrown in some Great Wall and Ssangyung models as well :D

    • gti


      I don’t understand why the Mazda 3 is so popular in Australia.”

      Have you driven a new or newish 3 recently?


      In US & Canada…”

      We’re in Australia and so any other market is irrelevant.

  • Faz

    Ford is real jealous. Its all because of Elantra winning Car of the year award.
    Accept it ford. Hyundai is here to stay

    • Richo

      When did the Elantra win Car of the Year?

      • Faz

        Yesterday Elantra won 2012 North American Car of The Year beating Ford Focus and VW. :)

        • union

          Hyundai’s will find it hard to win car of the year in Oz as every review of a new Hyundai highlights its poorer handling and steering response to that of many of its competitors.

          Australian roads are crap and we all want (need) a car that can corner and provide feedback to the driver.

          Hyundai has come far. I would agree they are reliable, have a great warranty and are a true threat to Ford, GM and VW. But, Looks do not make a good car on there own.

          • Snowman

            Amazing then that the i30 has won so many car of the year plaudits over the past 3 years from many groups here in Oz…

  • Jakhammer

    J May must be wearing rose coloured glasses, the Focus
    styling refresh is now one of the ugliest cars you can buy in the Australian
    market. What is Ford’s styling language, WHALE SHARK

  • Richard

    Ford design boss talks about Hyundai design being fussy and all over the place.

    I look at the new Ford Focus

    Is this guy for real?

  • Goodfa

    Some of Hyundai’s cars are a bit over the top but I think they have got it about right with the new i30. Their sister company Kia have better designs at the moment.

  • Henry Toussaint

    That’s Very rude of ford to say when they overstyled their EcoSport. 

  • Phil

    Wow, benchmarking against Hyundai. Ford’s VC sounds scared.

  • Rob

    Ford is similar design ethos as Hyundai. Trouble is Ford has moved too slow to get at front on design pecking order as Hyundai already there

  • Sumpguard

    “”Mays says its new evolutionary styling approach hasn’t been given a name”" ……………………………………….

        How about “Aston Martonism”? 

  • Busang

    The Ford designer should stick to speaking about Ford design. Talking badly about designs from other manufacturers is silly. 

  • Biffwellington

    Oh look, its Jez Spinks having a go at Ford again!! Did you get a tummy upset from a sandwhich at a Ford launch once or something??

  • vk

    ford had owned AM so they have the right to copy their style . but they havent copied it just blindly .. ford has taken the AM hex-grill to the next level . it hardly looks like an AMs grill .. and talking about rest of the design , ford attempts to make a more simpler looking design that has some simple flow of lines but looks supper striking …
    talking of hyundais, their designs and cars are JUNK . hyundais look like designed by small kids and then improved cosmetics by some senior designers .. all hyundais are overdesigned and look like some made in china stuff …

  • Patrick McGee

    FYI…..
    Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures and distributes automobiles in 200 markets across six continents. With about 300,000 employees and more than 100 plants worldwide, the company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Aston Martin, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury and Volvo.