PARIS, 23 September 2004 – Ford of Europe is introducing the all-new Ford Focus to the world’s media and the French public at the 2004 Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris. Ford’s theme for the show, appropriately, is La Collection Focus. Focus debuts the all-new model as an entire family of vehicles. New 3-door, 5-door and wagon versions of the dynamic and stylish new Focus family will be revealed alongside the Ford Focus C-MAX.
A surprise star headlines Ford’s La Collection Focus at the 2004 Paris Motor Show: a concept car inspired by the new Ford Focus. Sitting alongside the all-new Focus production range as it makes its debut in Paris, the Focus Vignale Concept is a one-off design study that explores the potential for future Focus derivatives.
The Focus Vignale Concept takes its inspiration and name from the renowned Italian designer, Alfredo Vignale (1913 – 1969), who has an historical connection with Ford’s European design heritage. His Carrozzeria Vignale company produced many stylish, coachbuilt sports cars during the 1950’s and 1960’s and joined Ford Motor Company’s De Tomaso Automobili in 1969.
The Focus Vignale Concept is actually two cars in one. Appealing in autumn and winter months, it appears as a stylish and sporty coupe. Yet at the push of a button, the coupe transforms into an open-top convertible. Its bootlid silently tilts open and its retractable hardtop folds backward to stow cleanly in the boot, inspiring carefree emotions of open-top, wind-in-the-hair motoring.
The exterior is highlighted by the use of bright polished aluminium which evokes the chrome of past grand touring cars from Italy. A narrow, polished aluminium strip stretches horizontally along the length of the vehicle at its sills, emphasising the confidence of the vehicles stance, and it is mirrored by another horizontal strip at the lower edge of the side window graphic.
A new look grille, finished distinctively in chrome, also evokes a feeling that the Focus Vignale Concept could be from an expensive premium brand. Its horizontal bars clearly differentiate the concept vehicle from the new Focus range, hinting at a possible future design direction.
Lower aluminium touches continue at the front and rear of the vehicle, giving visual emphasis to front air ducts and rear exhaust outlets and adding a bold strip along the edge of the bootlid between the tail lamps.
Emphasis on Luxury
Inside the Ford Focus Vignale Concept, the emphasis is on luxury. As the car assumes its open-top role, the quality of craftsmanship and premium materials is clearly evident, highlighted by well-executed design touches inspired by the heyday of the Italian sports car.
Just one of these design facets in the Focus Vignale Concept’s sweeping profile is the door handle. A modern execution of designs found in Alfredo Vignale’s spyders from the Sixties, it is elegantly sculpted in a lozenge shape of polished aluminium. Yet, unlike the Sixties original, a simple, intuitive finger push now activates the door catch electronically.
The Focus Vignale Concept’s glass panels are uniquely coloured in Acqua, a blue-green tint that adds an air of exclusivity to its personality and elegantly subdues hues inside the vehicle when it is in coupe mode. Subtle Acqua accents are also featured in the interior. Reminiscent of Italian sports cars’ seat stitching, the contrast of underlying Acqua filetto treatments of Amalfi Light leather seat surfaces are a modern interpretation that conveys luxury and attention to detail. The seat inserts feature horizontal ribbing, another retro feature.
The upper instrument panel is finished in Black Abalone-coloured leather, while the lower is Amalfi Light suede. Metallic accents on the door panels and steering wheel spokes are another link to the exterior design.
Story by Ford Motor Company, edited by Supercars.net