• Verve heralds Fiesta replacement
• Latest 'Kinetic design' car
• Ford promises 'best interiors in the business'
Ford will unveil a small-car concept called Verve at the Frankfurt motor show in just over two weeks - and says it is 'the first piece of the puzzle' in the build-up to 2009's Fiesta replacement.
Although the Verve will not go into production as shown - its roof is too low for practicality and its frameless side doors are too expensive to incorporate into a Fiesta-priced car - it could form the basis of a sporty three-door range-topper when the new Fiesta emerges, complete with egg-crate grille and coupe-like profile.
'You can just imagine how exciting the successor to the Fiesta is going to be,' says Ford's European design director, Martin Smith.
Design inspired by technology
The Verve is the latest sign of Ford's so-called 'kinetic design' - dynamic lines, full surfaces and bold details - following the S-Max, Galaxy and Mondeo.
Smith says it was inspired by feedback from customer surveys, including many female respondents.
'A lot of them told us they wanted a Mini but couldn't afford one, so they bought a Peugeot 206. Many weren't even aware of the current Fiesta,' he said.
The interior is just as stylish and modern as the exterior. It is trimmed in burgundy, red, black and silver and has a centre console that echoes the look of fashionable mobile phones.
'The people we spoke to are all interested in the latest technologies, so we have used design cues they are familiar with,' says Smith.
Among them is the latest version of Ford's HMI (Human Machine Interface) central control unit and screen.
Promise of quality interior
Something close to the Verve's interior could also make it into production on top-trim versions of the new Fiesta, although there will be less expensive trims to ensure Ford does not abandon its traditional customer base.
'When you see the interior of Fiesta's successor, you're not going to be disappointed. We're aiming to have the best interiors in the business and we're not being modest about it,' Smith says.
The Verve is almost the same length and width as the current Fiesta, and shares many of its technologies with the new slimmed-down, lightweight Mazda 2.
The next Fiesta will also be lighter than the current car, says product development chief Joe Bakaj, and will be available with 'a full range of body styles'.
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