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Auto blogThu, 29 May 2014
The mind behind the look of much of the modern Ford global range is retiring. Martin Smith, Head of Ford Design in Europe, will give up his position on July 1 and will leave the company altogether at the end of the year. He will be replaced by current Strategic Concepts Group leader Joel Piaskowski (pictured above).
Smith has led Ford of Europe design for the past 10 years, and he was partially responsible for the brand's Kinetic Design language with a large grille and swept-back headlights found on the Focus, Fiesta and C-Max, as well as several other vehicles abroad. After stepping down on July 1 until his retirement at the end of 2014, Smith will work on a project to decide the future direction of the company's look with Moray Callum, its vice president of design.
Piaskowski already has some impressive credentials in terms of automotive design as well. He joined Ford in 2010 as director of exterior design and led the teams responsible for the 2015 Ford Mustang and next-generation F-150. He was also previously design director at Ford Asia Pacific. Before working at the Blue Oval, Piaskowski held positions at Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and General Motors. Scroll down to read the complete announcement of this changing of the guard.
During the recent unveiling of the 2015 Ford Mustang, we saw the car in both V6 and GT form, but we'll have to wait a little bit longer to see the successor to the Shelby GT500. In the meantime, though, it looks like SVTPerformance.com has confirmed reports that this high-performance model will bring the Shelby GT350 name back to Ford.
According to the forum post, a user found the Shelby GT350 name on a Ford promo website listing its 2015 lineup. The Shelby GT350 name was first used on a Mustang back in 1965, and most recently it has been a model created for customers as a post-title purchase by Shelby American. As for that car, Shelby confirmed earlier in the year that its GT350 would be phased out at the end of this month.
The million-dollar question for Mustang and Shelby enthusiasts is when we'll see next factory Shelby GT350. Last we heard it was planned for a debut at the New York Auto Show. We've included our previous spy shots of this hi-po, sixth-gen Mustang, and we've also captured it on spy video showing off its exhaust note.
That handsome fellow you see above is the 2015 Ford Focus sedan. We liked the looks of the 2014 Focus, and the updates for 2015 only improve things to our eyes, with the adoption of the Aston Martin-inspired grille that has been permeating Ford's lineup these last few years. Sweeping, slightly bulbous headlamps join a revised, more demure lower grille opening to round out the styling updates up front. The rest of the car's look is just slightly massaged, including new taillamp clusters that look much like they did last year.
New for 2015 is the availability of Ford's 1.0-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine, mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission. There's also a new SE Sport Package that adds more aggressive suspension tuning, paddle shifters (when equipped with Ford's six-speed dual-clutch automatic) and a few body kit bits and pieces. Rounding out the mechanical changes are an updated electronic steering rack that promises better feel, suspension tweaks to make the ride more comfortable and some software updates designed to make the dual-clutch gearbox better behave itself.
In addition, inside there are a few interior upgrades, as well as some added comfort and safety tech that includes available blind-spot detection and lane-keeping assist, along with other more incremental changes that all add up to a better vehicle. We suggest you check out the official press release below for all the details, but not before scrolling through our image gallery of live shots above.