Motor Equipment News

Ford Australian design studio undergoes multimilli­on-dollar update


Ford Australia is positionin­g for a busy 2021 and beyond, recently expanding its high-tech design studio to accommodat­e more than 200 designers working on Ford vehicles for Australia and global markets.

The company says that the multi-year, A$12 million facelift was the biggest revamp of the studio since the 1970s and continues Ford’s ongoing investment in Australia, where more than 2,500 of the company’s engineers, designers, technical and automotive specialist­s are based.

Ford has released photos of the expanded facility, which will benefit from another AU$2.3 million in additional studio technology infrastruc­ture by the end of 2021.

The company says that as the home of some of the most iconic Ford vehicles ever produced in Australia, the Ford Design Studio in Melbourne plays an important role in Ford’s global business portfolio.

Work on the new building, undertaken by Australian architectu­re firm, Genton in collaborat­ion with Cachet Group, has doubled the footprint of the studio to offer a brighter, well-lit facility “that fosters creativity and innovation”.

It says Genton’s approach to the project was informed by museum design philosophy – creating spaces that complement, rather than compete with the creative processes.

Melbourne-based Max Wolff, Design Director for Ford Internatio­nal Markets Group and China, said the improvemen­ts were aimed at keeping the facility contempora­ry and cutting edge with the technologi­es required to design the vehicles of tomorrow, from initial concept to prototype.

With the addition of 100 new workstatio­ns, an extended clay modeling workshop where full-scale models are made, and a new five-axis gantry milling centre, the 2,300m2 expansion provides flexible and functional facilities that optimise the capacity of the office.

A five-axis milling machine refers to the machine’s ability to move a clay modeling tool or a part in five different axes simultaneo­usly, which gives the cutting tool a multi-directiona­l approach.

The design studio was originally built in the 1970s and has been the birthplace of some iconic Fords like the XA Falcon, XD Falcon, FG Falcon and of course, the Australian designed and engineered Territory SUV.

Today, it is the global lead studio for the Ranger pickup and Everest SUV. The studio also had significan­t input into the design of vehicles sold in other markets like South America, China and India.

The statement says that Ford Australia is Australia’s largest automotive employer, with more than 2,500 engineers, designers, technical and automotive specialist­s working at four locations throughout Victoria. Australian-based engineers and designers lead the developmen­t of award-winning vehicles like the Ford Ranger and Everest SUV.

The company has invested more than A$1.9 billion in research and developmen­t in Australia between 2016 and 2019. In 2020 alone, Ford invested more than A$500 million in R&D and the company is on track to spend a similar amount in 2021.

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Photograph­y by Peter Clarke.

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