COLOGNE, Germany – Vehicle Dynamics International magazine has named Ford’s Jürgen Pützschler as its “Dynamicist of the Year” for his work on the driving dynamics of the new Focus and C-MAX.
Pützschler, Ford supervisor C-car Vehicle Dynamics, was chosen from a shortlist of three people by an international panel of judges.
“This is truly a great honour and I am very pleased to receive this award on behalf of the entire Ford Vehicle Dynamics Team,” said the 49-year-old German engineer.
Vehicle dynamics – how a vehicle behaves on the road – profoundly affect the way customers perceive a car, yet in terms of recognition they are an often overlooked element in its development. Pützschler and his team are responsible for Ford’s acclaimed vehicle dynamics, including body stiffness, ride and handling, with the ultimate goal of achieving a vehicle that is fun to drive, flatters the novice, and rewards the expert.
“Ford’s new C-car platform is its most versatile yet: a range of family cars, MPVs, SUVs, electric vehicles and performance cars will all derive from it, for worldwide markets, and with a remarkable degree of commonality between them. It can be a thankless task to serve so many masters, but on the evidence of the Focus and C-MAX, Jürgen has done a remarkable job,” said Graham Heeps, editor, Vehicle Dynamics International and member of the judging panel.
The panel took into account the reputation for driving excellence that Focus and C-MAX are earning around the world. “Ford’s family of C-platform vehicles are segment leaders for dynamics in every market they are sold. Jürgen and his team should be commended,” said panellist John Heider, vehicle dynamicist, Cayman Dynamics, USA.
Pützschler said he considered the award an honour for Ford’s global team, which challenged itself to deliver top driving quality even as it improved the refinement of Focus and C-MAX.
“Most car manufacturers concentrate on either vehicle dynamics performance or on quality and refinement,” he said. “The perfect combination of both attributes may be the key reason for the award. We could have decided to significantly increase refinement, quality impression and maturity and trade vehicle dynamics against it, but we decided to improve on both.”
Pützschler is a self-confessed driving fanatic, with roughly half of his working life spent behind the wheel of Ford development vehicles. From Ford facilities at Merkenich in Germany and Lommel in Belgium, to the famous Nürburgring circuit and lesser known roads in Wales, England and in the south of Spain, he goes to great lengths to help ensure Ford’s C-segment vehicles offer leading dynamic performance.
“Vehicle dynamics development is not about helping lunatic drivers to go even faster through corners, it’s about ensuring predictable, safe and confident driving – even for a novice – when performing extreme accident avoidance manoeuvres,” he explained. In fact, for Pützschler this element of Ford’s philosophy also holds some very personal satisfaction.
“My eldest daughter, who is 20, bought a Ka and she loves the agility, predictability and feeling of confidence she gets from the vehicle,” he said. “Her novice comments make me very proud to work in the area that helps to create this feeling of predictability and confidence in her.”