Opinion

"Beauty is a big part of car design, but so is usability"

Steve Fowler has been in conversation with Moray Callum, VP of design at Ford, about the future of design for autonomous cars

If you want to know what the future holds in the car world, ask a designer; they're as much futurologists as stylists these days. And this week I had the pleasure of spending some time with one of the best, Ford's VP of design Moray Callum.

Callum spoke of his excitement at Ford's commitment to produce a car without a steering wheel by 2021 - a project he's heavily involved in. However, he's promised style won't be forgotten in Ford's push to be first with autonomous driving.

"Some people will always want to be seen in one car rather than another," Callum told me. "With autonomous cars, people won't want a Google car - they don't want to be seen in a science project."

All about autonomous driving

Even existing tech was proving to be a challenge for the modern car designer. "The user interface is part of our designers' jobs and we're already pummelling the public with information," said Callum. "If Henry Ford was alive today, he'd probably think cars are already autonomous!"

In-car tech means interior design is becoming more and more important. Callum describes it as being "like a marriage - you fall in love with the exterior, but you have to live with the interior".

And while interiors are taking more of his design team's time, so is Ford's burgeoning range of SUVs.

2016 New Car Awards: Design Award

"SUVs will become the predominant model in everyone's range," he said. "Customers' desire to have a high H-point will continue and designers need to look at different solutions." But he says it's a challenge to make an SUV look great.

As for the rest of the Ford range, expect greater differences in future as models are again tailored for different markets. "You'll see more of a step-change in Ford design post [the next] Fiesta," he said. That's great news and makes for an even more exciting Ford future.

What do you think the future holds for car design? Let us know in the comments below...

Editor-in-chief

Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

Recommended

Best new cars coming in 2024
Best new cars coming in 2024 - header image
Best cars & vans

Best new cars coming in 2024

There are some big new models from the likes of BMW, Citroen, Dacia, Ford, MINI, Skoda and more on the way in 2024
29 Jan 2024
How Ford and Vauxhall became national treasures
Assortment of Fords and Vauxhalls
Features

How Ford and Vauxhall became national treasures

We take a look at the rivalry of two manufacturers that have battled for the hearts, minds and money of British car buyers
27 Dec 2023
'Once-dominant Ford and Vauxhall could become also-rans in the future'
Opinion - Ford plant
Opinion

'Once-dominant Ford and Vauxhall could become also-rans in the future'

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks Ford and Vauxhall need to get their pricing right in the EV era if they are to remain popular with customers
15 Nov 2023
New Ford Capri spied testing for the first time
Electric Ford Capri - front
News

New Ford Capri spied testing for the first time

Iconic Ford nameplate will return on MEB-based crossover
9 Nov 2023

Most Popular

New Renault 5 leaked: pictures surface online ahead of Monday's Geneva Motor Show reveal
renault 5 teaser
News

New Renault 5 leaked: pictures surface online ahead of Monday's Geneva Motor Show reveal

The long-awaited all-electric reboot of the iconic Renault 5 will be fully unveiled on 26 February 2024
24 Feb 2024
'Cheap SUVs are where the smart money's going in today's car market'
Opinion - Volkswagen T-Roc
Opinion

'Cheap SUVs are where the smart money's going in today's car market'

Mike Rutherford thinks sensibly priced SUVs are the natural successor to less spacious family hatchbacks
25 Feb 2024
Car Deal of the Day: big-selling Nissan Qashqai with hybrid power for only £194 a month
Nissan Qashqai - front static
News

Car Deal of the Day: big-selling Nissan Qashqai with hybrid power for only £194 a month

A UK favourite with Nissan’s unique hybrid system, the Qashqai e-Power is a great family SUV and our Car Deal of the Day for 22 February
22 Feb 2024