Ford has unveiled the striking iosis concept car - a vehicle that defines an exciting new design direction for Ford of Europe. Building on the style of the Ford SAV Concept shown at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year, iosis demonstrates Ford's new 'kinetic design' philosophy. The car will debut at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show.
"iosis is more than just a show car, it is sending a message about how Ford of Europe's future design will be defined," says Martin Smith, Ford of Europe's Executive Design Director. "It sends a bold message because our future products will be bold."
Energy in motion
With 'kinetic design', the Ford of Europe design team has embraced the marque's core values in an expressive, new design language. iosis expresses this language in its ultimate form. Kinetic design visualises Ford's acclaimed driving quality - it expresses energy in motion.
The foundation for this new design language is modern vehicle architectures derived from Ford's 'shared technologies' strategy. Designers now have the freedom to develop very different models and designs from these shared component sets. 'iosis' demonstrates how the same component set used for the SAV Concept shown at Geneva can be applied to an entirely different type of vehicle.
In the case of iosis this language is applied in its most muscular form as expressed by the full surfaces spanning taut, dynamic feature lines. Strong shoulders supported by sharply defined undercut lines further support this muscular stance.
To emphasise the athletic proportions of the body the principal surfaces are precisely sculptured, which is most evident from above when a clearly defined three plane plan view can be identified. At the front this elimination of imprecise rounded forms has the effect of visually shortening the front overhang. Contributing further to these athletic, sculptural forms are the well defined wheelarch lips that have become a familiar Ford design signature since they appeared originally on the Ford Focus.
Overlaid on these well defined sculptural forms are clearly recognisable graphic elements. Prominent among these is the distinctive daylight opening area with its characteristic upward tick at the rear. On iosis the new face of Ford is represented by the familiar Ford graphic of an inverted trapezoid air intake, in this case placed below a bold, chromed grille.
Strongly drawn lamp graphics at front and rear are further identifiable elements with the headlamps also echoing the upward tick seen in the DLO. The precise detailing of the rear lamps and the chamfered lower corners of the rear glass combine to form another clearly identifiable graphic that defines the rear of the car.
This complex surfacing and careful attention to graphic forms contributes to the tense, muscular stance of iosis. This is enhanced by precise detailing that is evident in the jewel-like featuring in the lamps and the wide, strong rocker panels. Exciting, new wheel designs with design cues drawn from the graphic elements seen elsewhere on the car are a final, vital element of the overall 'kinetic design' story. On 'iosis' this feature is expressed in a typically strong way with 20-inch wheels, milled from solid aluminium billets, featuring a contrasting polished and anodised finish that accentuates their three dimensional design.
The strong sculptural forms, clearly recognisable graphic elements and fine detailing that are defined so strongly on iosis will be applied in varying ways on all future Ford of Europe models. This 'kinetic design' provides the clearly identifiable form language that will enable Ford to drive towards design leadership.
The interior design of iosis follows the dramatic themes of the exterior, while retaining an inviting ambience. The unique angled pivoting door arrangement gives complete, uninterrupted access to the interior, and ensures there is an instant visual link between the interior and exterior.
All the sections from the instrument panel through to the centre stack and through to the console reflect the dramatic forms of the exterior. The instrument panel itself is a slim and complex form that sweeps around the front occupants of the vehicle.
These forms are complemented by a selection of trim materials and colours that interprets the dynamic sporty exterior in a particularly modern way. By combining futuristic materials such as rubber and aluminium with luxurious materials, like leather, an ambience has been created that matches a technical character with sophistication.
An ultra modern steering wheel fashioned from solid aluminium with contrasting orange glove leather grips and a graphite metallic leather airbag pad is matched by the Focus World Rally Car inspired sequential gear shifter.
Together they embody all the themes running through the interior: contemporary craftsmanship, high quality materials and a touch of surprise-and-delight technology, with the starter button mounted beneath a flip lid on top of the shifter.
The driver's cockpit is dominated by a prominent instrument binnacle housing a cluster of analogue instruments. Their chronograph precision is balanced by a high definition LCD display, reconfigurable for the navigation system or views from three rearward facing cameras.
Eye-catching seats with skeletal frames featuring a ribcage and vertebrae structure are fashioned from aluminium and formed rubber. Separating the front seats is a 'flying bridge' centre console. The air vents featured on the facia and the centre console have a twist control that unfurls the vanes in a way that mimics those of a jet fighter's afterburners. This imagery of a jet's thrust is highlighted in the doors by aluminium inserts which flow and taper away from the vents.
Neoprene is used extensively in the interior finishing in three colours: dark charcoal, "oxygen" - a metallic grey - and a strong shade of technical orange. There is also a unique leather finish that has a subtle, graphite metallic look. For the floor, conventional carpeting has been replaced with a more rugged, structured weave with technical silver highlights.
iosis features a number of design innovations. The dramatic angled pivoting door arrangement features doors constructed from carbon fibre for lightness. The doors are powered by rams that swing them upwards and outwards via a system of sophisticated hinges that ensure additional support isn't required when the doors are open.
There are no conventional door mirrors on iosis. Mounted in the rear valance is a camera to complement those on each door . The exterior cameras are pieces of precisely machined aluminium, swept back to further underline the car's visual appearance.
The front lamps have an inner circular turning led for low beam with a vertical day time running light, separating it from the turn signal on the outer edge. Beneath these lighting elements are ten main beam leds, emerging when lit from tubes like a series of lasers. This look is echoed in the rear light cluster with tail lights organised in a circle with a flattened top, flanked to the outside by the indicators and inboard by the stop lights.
Inside iosis, the centre stack houses docking points for a pair of memory sticks. It is possible that rather than using a conventional key or even keyless entry, a memory stick could be used that as well as acting as a security device, would also contain the driver's personal preferences for driving position, audio settings, screen configuration, etc.
Another surprising feature of the interior is the extensive use of electroluminescent foil to illuminate the doors and ceiling. In addition to being very package-friendly, it emits a gentle, even light and can be cut into any shape.
"Ford of Europe is acknowledged as being a leader in driving dynamics, and amongst the best for craftsmanship as well as being affordable and reliable. These are all attributes our customers associate with Ford. Now we are targeting compelling, emotional design," said Smith. "iosis sends a message that Ford is serious about design leadership."
iosis will make its world debut on the Ford stand at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show, which opens to the public on September 15th 2005.