DEARBORN - The 2012 Ford Focus Titanium edition was awarded a coveted spot on the 2011 Ward’s 10 Best Interiors list “for upping the ante in the small-car segment with an interior that blends high style with comfort and flexibility,” according to the editors of Ward’s AutoWorld.
The Focus Titanium was one of 51 vehicles evaluated by Ward’s between February and March. All the vehicles were completely new or featured significantly upgraded interiors. Vehicles were judged based on material quality, ergonomics, safety, the human-machine interface, comfort, fit-and-finish, overall value and aesthetics.
Ward’s praised the attention to detail in the Focus Titanium interior, citing elements such as attractive stitching on the seats, flawless fit-and-finish and liberal use of chrome-like accents throughout the cabin.
“Focus sets a new benchmark for features, comfort and style in a small car,” said Drew Winter, editor-in-chief, Ward’s AutoWorld.
The award was presented to Ford this week at the Ward’s Auto Interiors Conference.
“Our teams in Europe and here in North America collaborated beautifully to create the Focus Titanium edition,” said Scott Strong, global director, Ford Interior Design, who accepted the award on behalf of the Ford Design team. “It demonstrates that we really are a global design organization bridging the Atlantic with our efforts.”
Robert Gelardi, design manager, Ford North American Design, stressed the importance of creating interiors with expressive brand DNA, when he gave the keynote speech at this week’s Conference.
“Factors like quality, reliability, safety and performance have become relative constants in the marketplace, but the brand is really your key differentiator,” he said. “It’s what the customer identifies with.”
Gelardi says brands like Starbucks and Apple are successful because they don’t sell products. They sell an experience.
“Everything they do – from packaging to advertising to retail – is about reinforcing that experience,” he said. “That is what the customer is buying into.”
Gelardi says Ford shares a similar approach to interior design.
“If you can bring performance, craftsmanship and technology together to generate an experience and do it in a cohesive way with the exterior, then both the exterior projection and the interior experience will reinforce your brand,” he said.