BEIJING, China — The needs of Chinese consumer were thoroughly considered during the design stage of the all-new EcoSport, in order to make sure their expectations were met, Ehab Kaoud, the chief designer of Ford South America who led the EcoSport’s design, told a media roundtable during Auto China 2012.
"We did three extensive rounds of research, listening to what consumers said," he said. "For instance, how comfortable do they want the interior to be? How high does the ground clearance need to be so that it will meet their expectation?"
The roundtable was attended by six auto media and two website writers.
"With a firm adherence to 'One Ford', our design is not targeting one specific market, but many markets around the world," he said. "We are glad to see the successful stories of our global products."
Asked why he believes this vehicle will sell in China, as Ford had never produced an SUV with such a small foot print, Ehab praised his proud EcoSport interior design.
"It may look small on the outside, it is surprisingly spacious when it comes to the interior," he said. "With more than 20 storage places for personal belongings and suitcases, it is a vehicle for the family."
When asked about Ford's new design language, Kaoud said the design was always evolving to meet consumers' changing tastes.
"Although we had some brilliant designs in the past, we need to keep up with the trend," he said. "I believe media and consumers in China have noticed the distinctive designs on the Ford SUV family displayed in Beijing. This is exactly what we want; people can immediately tell it's a Ford vehicle when they see it."
With its production version unveiled at Auto China 2012, the EcoSport has drawn nation-wide attention in the world's largest auto market, where SUVs are one of the most popular segments. The Fiesta-based compact SUV will be built in Chongqing within this year.
One of the sketches Kaoud shared with journalists during the roundtable session.