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Ford’s Vertrek marks evolution of global compact SUV

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Ford's continually evolving global kinetic design philosophy is well-suited to the next generation of compact sport utility vehicles as envisioned by the Ford Vertrek concept unveiled recently at the 2011 North American International Auto Show.

"The world is changing and consumers are looking for a new compact SUV," said J Mays, group vice president, Design, and chief creative officer. "They work hard, play hard and desire a vehicle that reflects that outlook and stands out. We believe the Vertrek concept will fulfill what they're looking for."

The core goal of kinetic design is to create vehicles that imply motion even when standing still and convey Ford's excellent driving dynamics.

"The building blocks of kinetic design — defining the stance and how the body is set over the wheels; strong and precisely executed surfacing; the dynamic, expressive lines and creating a sleeker aerodynamic profile — are all very much in line with what we believe customers want in future compact SUVs," said Martin Smith, Ford executive design director.

The Vertrek concept takes its inspiration from the European Ford Kuga crossover, hailed as the design leader in its segment, and takes the promise of a future global compact SUV to the next level.

The new sleeker, sportier design intelligently integrates the capability requirements that customers demand in this segment with an interior cargo volume comparable to today's Ford Escape.

"Overall, the Vertrek concept is a sleeker, sportier and smarter representation of what customers want in a compact SUV," said Smith. "Additionally, the exquisite detailing, such as the execution of the headlamps, tail-lamps and wheels, evokes advanced technology and craftsmanship."

The exterior color is Liquid Platinum, chosen to bring out the strong sculpturing of Vertrek while stressing the sophistication and premium execution of the vehicle's personality.

"Based on the reception of the Fiesta and all-new Focus models, customers are excited by our new global design strategy," said Smith. "So it makes absolute sense to offer kinetic design in our next generation of compact utility vehicles as well."

The Vertrek concept interior is lightweight and spacious and conveys all the expressive flair evident in the exterior.

As the focal point of the interior, the instrument panel displays shapes and forms that are absolutely unique, and further demonstrates Ford's kinetic design language. The wing-like profile spans the cockpit and visually extends through the side glass into the rear view camera. The center console swoops into the interior and develops into a central bridge flowing through the vehicle.

The theme of sophisticated craftsmanship is evident throughout the interior, including the instrument panel wrapped in Dusk Grey leather, contrasted and cooled by the satin-tinted platinum tones of the center console. The fluorescent detailing comes as a surprising highlight.

The execution of the four individual seats communicates sportiness and relaxation. The slim seats are clad in naturally tanned, velour leather and, says Smith, "have the robust quality of Bavarian lederhosen." This is offset throughout the interior by the modernistic touch of neon red-orange fluorescent highlights — an intriguing combination of traditional and high-tech. The seats are of slim construction, showcased by the central spine support.

Replacing conventional carpet, Vertrek concept incorporates handcrafted woven-leather floor materials. Functional elements on the steering wheel, doors, cluster and instrument panel have a polished, premium finish that demonstrates craftsmanship normally seen on premium products.

"The Ford Vertrek concept brings new excitement to the global crossover and compact SUV arena and is our vision of how kinetic design can redefine this increasingly popular segment for Ford globally," said Mays. "The very name Vertrek signals versatility and capability, typifying the personality of the revolution in this market."

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