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The Designers Pt2 – Moray Callum, Ford

Fri, 16 May 2014 00:00:00 -0700

Car Design News launched its first ever Car Design Review yearbook at the Geneva motor show, featuring the award-winning Production Car and Concept Car Designs of 2013.

If you're interested in buying a copy of the 160-page yearbook this interview appears in, alongside trend reports, bespoke car design infographics and a special feature on Marcello Gandini, our inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Car Design Review can be purchased here.

Name Moray Callum
Role VP design, Ford Motor Company
Age, nationality 55, Scottish
Location Michigan, USA
Education Napier University, Scotland & RCA

"The announcement of my promotion [taking over from J Mays in Ford's top design job] was made towards the end of the year so it's still sinking in. I enjoyed a certain amount of autonomy at Mazda and I think it's a little frustrating when you work for a hierarchy again, and obviously in the US it's more so, so it's a great privilege to get the job, but a challenge too. The buck stops here as they say. It was a little bit of a surprise, I didn't have to apply.

"Quite frankly it's still early days, I have already been to the Cologne studio to visit the guys there. But there have not been major changes in terms of people or anything. I think what we have been able to achieve over the last couple of years is really getting to a consolidated thought process within the design studios.

"A lot of credit goes to J [Mays] in terms of us now being able to use any of the studios around the world to do any of our products. I think that's really good. You know the history. There were different studios designing different products for different countries, but now we really are a global design team. We just need to enhance it.

"2013 was a good year for Ford in design terms. We got a lot of good stuff out. The new production Mustang was the peak of it and there was the Edge concept in LA. It was a big year for Lincoln too, because of the production MKC launch again towards the end of last year that's showing our commitment to Lincoln and trying to separate it more from the Ford brand.

"Before with Ford and Lincoln, there had been a lot of shared body panels, but this vehicle shows it has different proportions [to the Kuga/Escape], wider and lower, so it shows we are separating the brands.

"I think last year was a good year for the industry too, when you look at the list of show cars. It was interesting from a design perspective in terms of having a little bit more separation in where some of the brands are going. It's interesting to see the design language of some of the Japanese, they are really stretching and trying to get their own identity again. Even the Koreans are getting more sophisticated. The Hyundai Genesis is a good example that these guys are serious and are getting quite mature in their design process.

"Some of the products you are seeing now and in the coming year will show that design really is one of the major factors for Ford in terms of differentiation. Lots of people say that but I do think there is a true desire within Ford to elevate design's importance and challenge the designers to stretch further. 

"Another thing I'd like to do is make it more of a fun place to work. Nothing wrong with having fun. It's fundamental. Allowing people the chance to show their abilities and not over-edit them - giving them the chance to shine - is probably a lot more important than giving them table football machines and pool tables. I think any young designer wants to be listened to and I think that's what we need. What we forget is that designers are employed as much for their design opinion as for their design ability."

Moray's top cars of 2013

1. Opel Monza
2. BMW Pininfarina Gran Coupe
3. Mercedes S-Class Coupe

"The Opel Monza concept was a nice fresh take on form and graphics and it came together in a very cohesive and fluid design"

1. Jaguar F-Type
2. Volkswagen XL1
3. Ferrari La Ferrari

"This Ferrari is the first one I have liked in some time"

By Guy Bird