Tag Archives: Detroit

#FordNAIAS: Behind the Blue Oval

The Canadian International Auto Show got me thinking about my trip to Detroit.  In my last post, I wrote about the North American International Auto Show, which filled the entire first day of my trip with Ford.  The second day was just as exciting as the first and it gave me the chance to go, “Behind the Blue Oval” and see what innovative ideas Ford was working on.  This day was packed with information and the first session I attended was focused entirely on the design process that they use, specifically with the Ford Mustang.

The Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang - Clay Model - Exterior

Ford Mustang – Clay Model – Exterior

This session gave us a chance to meet the design team that essentially built the 2015 Mustang from an idea to a car.  They walked us through the process of how a car starts as a series of sketches, both for the interior and exterior (these sketches can be seen in the background in the photos).  They then showed us how the sketches become changeable clay models.  These models give the look and feel of what the car will actually become and they can easily be changed.  If changes are made, the models can be scanned and the CAD drawings are updated.  I was amazed at how smooth and finished the clay felt, especially as you ran your hand over the exterior of the car.  We were even able to see how the clay models can be adjusted or changed, even just slightly, which I captured in this video:

Ford Mustang - Clay Model - Interior

Ford Mustang – Clay Model – Interior

Ford Mustang - Clay Model - Interior

Ford Mustang – Clay Model – Interior

Ford Mustang - Clay Model - Exterior

Ford Mustang – Clay Model – Exterior

Ford Mustang - Clay Model - Exterior

Ford Mustang – Clay Model – Exterior


Once the clay models are done, they are “finished” to resemble what the car will look like.  This means that leather interior and seats are added, so that you can get the look and feel of what the car will look like.  For the exterior, a fibreglass model of the car is built so that it can be examined under different light.  It also gives a chance to see the lines of the car and how they look in a finished product.  I was surprised by how much both the interior and exterior design teams talked about the emotions attached to the Ford Mustang brand.  How the look and feel of the car really needed to “tie in” to the driver.  I did like that the fibreglass model was “split” down the middle and it showed both the convertible and non-convertible option in one vehicle.

Ford Mustang - Fibreglass Model

Ford Mustang – Fibreglass Model

While all of this interior and exterior work is going on, there is a second design team working on colour and fabric/leather options.  This team looks at what colours they want to add to the line up and what colour materials will suit the driver of the car.  Again, this team talked about the emotional ties that these colours and materials would have and also how they tied to the history of the car and the brand.

Ford Mustang – Interior Finishes

Ford Mustang - Interior Finishes

Ford Mustang – Interior Finishes

Ford Mustang - Interior Finishes

Ford Mustang – Interior Finishes


If you are a Mustang owner, you can rest assured that these teams are working very hard to ensure that this car suits you, what you stand for and what you love.

The final stage is for all these pieces to come together and a prototype car to be built. Once this happens, all the hundreds of sketches that started the process have been narrowed down and refined to become the car that is sitting in front of everyone. To say that it takes A LOT of work, is an understatement. The team is currently working on the 2018 Mustang!

2105 Ford Mustang Prototype

2105 Ford Mustang Prototype

2015 Ford Mustang Prototype

2015 Ford Mustang Prototype

My thanks goes to the following members of the design team that were on-hand with us during our visit and answered all of our questions, no matter how crazy:

Kemal Curic – Exterior Design manager
Larry Pelowski – Master Modeler
Sewon Chun – Senior Interior Designer
Michael Thomson – Interior Designer
Russell Sims – Digital Sculptor
Carrie Bommarito – Color and Materials Designer