Martin Smith has been appointed as Executive Director of Design at Ford Europe. Smith, a native of Sheffield, England, brings a wealth of design experience to Ford, having held positions at Porsche, Audi, and most recently as Director of Design for Opel/Vauxhall. In his new position, he will report to product development chief, Derrick Kuzak and to Ford's global group vice president for Design, J Mays.
"Ford has made great strides in recent years to define a consistently distinctive and contemporary look for its products in Europe, and it is time to accelerate the evolu-tion of our design language",said Lewis Booth, president and chief operating officer, Ford of Europe. "This is a top strategic priority for us. Chris Bird and the team have already begun some exciting new work on in this direction; and adding Martin to the team will help us move forward even more quickly," he added.
"Bringing Martin onto the team signals how much strategic value Ford Motor Company places on design," said J Mays, "and it provides still another example of our strategy to place top design talent in key positions throughout the world to help strengthen our overall business."
"I am delighted at the prospect of working once again with my former colleagues, J Mays and Chris Bird, both of whom I've known and respected for many years," said Smith. "I see Ford of Europe committed to putting design at the center of its product strategy, and I'm excited to be part of that effort."
Martin Smith earned a mechanical engineering degree at the University of Liverpool and a Master of Automotive Design at the Royal College of Art in London before taking up his first position at Porsche in 1973. In 1977, he joined Audi where he designed the original Quattro and subsequently headed up the Advanced Design Studio in Munich, which produced the Audi Avus Concept.
His last position at Audi was head of Interior Design, overseeing the development of the TT interior. He moved to Opel in 1997 as Design Director for compact cars, where his assignments included the design of the Opel Speedster and the recently introduced Astra. In 2002, he became Executive Design Director for Opel/Vauxhall, and his recent work includes the new-generation Astra, Vauxhall VX Lightning and Opel Insignia concepts.