Ford is arguably as much a European automaker as it is an American one, with its own operations on the other side of the Atlantic to mirror its structure in Michigan. And it’s just named a new design director for its European division.
The role will now fall to Amko Leenarts, who has until now headed up its global interior design team. In his new capacity, Leenarts will run a team of more than 275 employees out of studios in Germany and the UK. The studio in Merkenich, Germany, in particular just benefited from a €13-million expansion – including a state-of-the-art, €3.5-million 3D milling workshop.
“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,” said Leenarts. “We’ll never stop trying to create designs that excite and help people to have an even more emotional connection with the Ford brand.”
A graduate of design schools in the Netherlands and in London, Leenarts has been with Ford since 2012. Before that he spent a dozen years as a designer with the PSA Group and its Peugeot, Citroën, and DS brands, joining the French automaker after completing his MA in Vehicle Design at the Royal College of Art.
He’ll now be responsible for overseeing all of Ford’s European design projects, styling vehicles inside and out for the European and other global markets. His predecessor. Joel Piaskowski, has been called back to Dearborn and promoted to Ford’s director of global design – both reporting to global vice president of design Moray Callum.