WITH a design that is almost off the scale in terms of “wow factor”, Ford is planning to take Europe’s biggest motor show by storm.
The Iosis concept car not only shows how Ford is viewing its future – it is also a broad hint of what the next generation Mondeo could look like.
Due to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show the week after next, the Iosis concept is a bold statement from the Big Blue Oval and uses many a space age feature.
There are no mirrors. Instead rearward facing cameras are fitted to maximise the driver’s field of vision around the vehicle.
And the doors themselves open upwards and outwards to make getting in and out as easy as possible.
The Iosis concept – iosis is an alchemic term referring to the final stage of the transformation of base metal into gold – also makes use of high intensity LED lighting front and rear.
The dramatic design has been created by Martin Smith, Ford of Europe’s new executive design director, who joined the company from Vauxhall where he had been responsible for masterminding the new Astra, the car hailed as marking Vauxhall-Opel’s design resurgence in Europe.
“Iosis is more than just a show car, it is sending a message about how Ford of Europe’s future design will be redefined,” says Smith. “It sends a bold message because that is the way we are going.”
The car is Mondeo-sized and although it has a coupe-like profile it is a true four door with the same amount of interior room as a saloon.
It follows on from the SAV Concept that Ford unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show earlier in the year and the front end styling with a distinctive air intake below a chromed grille is likely to become Ford’s trademark in future models.
Another element that was considered an imperative by Smith’s design team is the further development of the well defined wheelarch lip originally seen on the Focus in 1998.
“Ford has been producing vehicles which are great fun to drive and set the bench mark in driving dynamics, the best gear change, quickest steering and superb handling but you don’t know that until you get into them,” says Smith. “Our task was to create compelling design that harnesses this energy in motion and visualises it.”
The car is undoubtedly futuristic but has many practical features.
For example, the front lamps on the Iosis have an inner, circular turning LED for low beam with a vertical day time running light, separating it from the turn signal on the outer edge and beneath all of that are ten main beam LEDs, emerging when lit from tubes like a series of lasers.
The theme is echoed in the rear light cluster with its new design of tail lights employing a circle with a flattened top, flanked to the outside by the indicators and inboard by the stop lights. In addition to the obligatory high mounted stop lamp, there’s an additional series of LEDs running above the venturi that automatically increase in intensity according to weather visibility or the driver’s braking effort.
“Ford is a pan-European brand, not German or British, and we want to be recognised as such. My aim is that we will deliver products which will have a distinct European flavour and appeal,” adds Smith.
Lewis Booth, Ford of Europe chairman, says: “This vehicle represents not so much a new chapter, but a new book for Ford of Europe. Get used to this – it is our future.
“We want this design language to make our cars irresistible for customers, so that they turn heads when driven down streets. Not because they’re extravagant but because they’re the best-looking cars in their class.”