Ford has named Amko Leenarts, as its new director, Design, Ford of Europe.
In his new role, Leenarts is responsible for the exterior and interior design of vehicles developed by Ford of Europe, including small cars and crossover utility vehicles, and models for global markets. Leenarts will lead a team of more than 275 Ford employees at Ford Design Studios in Merkenich, Germany, and at the company’s Dunton Technical Centre in Essex, U.K.
Ford’s Merkenich Design Studio was the subject of a recent €13 million investment programme, including upgrades to design and clay modelling workshops; offices; and a €3.5 million investment in state-of-the-art 3D milling technology. Ford is continuing to transform its design process globally, through virtual and mixed reality technologies, helping deliver a new level of exciting, experience-focussed vehicles.
“It’s a very exciting time for our Design teams at Ford. More and more, we’re studying how our customers interact with their vehicles, and we’re looking to create designs that can actually make people’s lives better,” Leenarts said. “We’ll never stop trying to create designs that excite and help people to have an even more emotional connection with the Ford brand.”
Previously director, Global Interior Design, Ford Motor Company – responsible for interior design strategy and implementation for both the Ford and Lincoln brands worldwide – Leenarts joined Ford in 2012.
Leenarts graduated from the Academy of Arts in Groningen, Netherlands, with a degree in interior architecture. With a passion for car design, Leenarts went on to study at the Royal College of Art in London, graduating with a Master’s degree in Vehicle Design. Leenarts will report to Moray Callum, vice president, Design, Ford Motor Company.
“As Ford shapes the future of transportation, design will be the crucial differentiator,” Callum said.
“Amko will help us define new products that innovate while harnessing our global design talent to deliver truly world-class products.”
Ford’s new Design team structure – with smaller, segment-based groups that will oversee the design of individual vehicles from concept to production – will help deliver more cohesive designs across each family of vehicles.
Leenarts succeeds Joel Piaskowski, who is named director, Global Design, and will lead global car and crossover utility vehicle design from Ford Design Studios in Dearborn, U.S. Piaskowski led Ford of Europe’s design team from 2014, including the development of the all-new Ford Fiesta and upscale Vignale portfolio.