DETROIT — J Mays will reorganize Ford Motor Co.'s design department as the automaker shifts to a single global design language for the Ford brand.
"Everyone's focus will be slightly shifted," said Mays, Ford's group vice president of design and chief creative officer, in an interview. He declined to share details.
Work on that new design language is "coming along extremely well," Mays said. "I'm so pleased with the professional approach that Peter Horbury and Martin (Smith) have taken on driving us to the right answer."
The design language will succeed both the kinetic design theme now rolling out on Ford of Europe products and what Ford calls the "Bold American" design theme seen on U.S. vehicles such as the Edge crossover and the Fusion sedan. Martin Smith heads up the kinetic work in Europe, while Horbury oversees North American design.
While both themes are still fairly fresh, those designs will age, Mays said. So Ford is planning a look that can succeed today's designs six years or so in the future. While the successor design language will be global, regional tailoring will be done, he said.
Mays said that the probable sale of some of Ford's luxury brands also will change his focus.
Ford is taking bids for Jaguar and Land Rover and is reviewing Volvo. It sold the bulk of Aston Martin this year.
"Until we sold Aston Martin, there we were with eight brands, and my job was described as an inch deep and a mile wide," Mays said. "And now it's an inch wide and a mile deep."
That means Mays plans to dig deeper into the Ford brand during the next few years. "The transformation of the Ford brand globally, that, without a doubt, is the number one challenge," he said.
Even with Ford winnowing its luxury brands, Mays intends to keep his home in London, where he moved in early 2005.
The design chief travels back to Dearborn, Mich., often and says he is ready to return permanently at CEO Alan Mulally's request. Mays said that Mulally has approved the London arrangement.