Beijing — For parts of the world that are growing increasingly urban, the future of the automobile looks small, green, smart and fun in the eyes of Ford designers who created the Ford Start Concept. It's a design vision inspired for the transportation needs of the world's mega cities.
Making its global debut at the 2010 Beijing Auto Show, the Ford Start Concept is more than simply a design exploration into the feasibility of a small car. It also demonstrates how Ford will extend the promise of its EcoBoost engine technology story even further — previewing a fuel-efficient petrol Ford EcoBoost engine with just three cylinders and 1.0 liter of displacement, yet the power of a larger, 1.6-liter I4 engine.
Start Concept was inspired in part by a growing global trend toward mass urbanization. The world's top 20 mega-cities are home to consumers whose needs, attitudes and expectations may have more in common with mega-city dwellers in other nations than with their own countrymen. While these consumers share the challenges of living in an urban society, they also increasingly seek out product solutions that bring the best the world has to offer.
These insights inspired Ford designers to envision a future sporty, small-car package geared to their needs and urban mindset.
Today, more than 50 percent of the world's population lives in an urban area. By 2050, that number is expected to skyrocket to more than 70 percent. Already, congested highways, space for parking, concerns over fuel efficiency as well as the availability and price of fuel are driving automakers to look at vehicles and personal transportation more differently than ever before.
“Our ambition with the Ford Start Concept was to design a car that transcends the practical realities of commuting in these mega cities and goes beyond just dressing the technology. We wanted to design a car you would also love,” explained Freeman Thomas, design director.
Living in the mega city poses unique challenges and inspires unique lifestyles and attitudes. Just as traffic congestion issues are common in these geographic areas, the answers to solve the issues of a new generation of future small cars for these urban markets may also be found in the Ford Start Concept.
“The team has delivered a concept car which reflects a decidedly playful take on Ford kinetic design and builds on our fun-to-drive DNA, yet addresses real issues that everyone will be facing in the future of car design,” said Martin Smith, executive director, Ford Europe and Asia Pacific Design.
As Ford has found with its global ONE Ford strategy, what was once a regional or individual market issue, is now global. Across the world, more consumers are confronting issues including “green” technology, more efficient use of available space, recycling and asking if big is necessarily better. It's an attitude that unites urbanites around the world.