Ford’s Cologne Design Centre, which is credited with a number of the company’s best designs, has recently been greenlit for a dramatic expansion and remodel. Costing 11.6 million euros, the project is on schedule for completion by the end of the year and will add a new 3000 square-meter wing with 100 more work stations to the European design studio.
This project is the largest single expansion the center has undergone since its inception in 1968. One of the highlights of the new wing is a “powerwall,” which can project vehicle renderings in a three-dimensional space. Chairman of Ford Germany, Bernhard Mattes, said “The expansion of our Design Centre shows Ford is committed to maintaining Cologne as one of Ford’s key global design and engineering locations.”
The center is currently made up of a 13,000 sq. m. campus of design studios and a staff of 250 employees from 14 different countries. Housed in one of the buildings is a full wind tunnel for aero testing along with several facilities for clay modeling and computer rendering. These areas are to be redesigned as part of the expansion project, adding newer milling machines that utilize computer-aided design.
While the Focus and Fiesta are two of the center’s most recent triumphs, the facility at Cologne is also responsible for designing some of the blue oval’s coolest cars produced over the last 40 years. Let’s take a look back at some of the Cologne Design Centre’s best work.
1992-1996 Ford Escort RS Cosworth – Though credit technically goes to now-defunct coachbuilder, Karmann, the Cologne Design Centre was responsible for creating the look of the Mark V Escort which the rally special was based on.
2002-2008 Ford Fiesta – The previous generation Fiesta was also quite the looker, especially in ST or Zetec S-trim. Though it never made it stateside, it stands as one of Cologne’s most celebrated designs.
1978-1986 Ford/Mercury Capri – Here’s one that actually did make it to the U.S. Sold as the Mercury Capri briefly in the 1970s, this little imported coupe enjoyed some popularity before being replaced by a rebadged Mustang.