CRISSY RODRIGUEZ: DYNAMICS DEVELOPMENT ENGINEER TAILORS TAURUS
vehicle dynamics development engineer, 2010 Ford Taurus
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- Crissy Rodriguez is the vehicle dynamics development engineer responsible for the way the new 2010 Ford Taurus feels on the road
- Rodriguez says her legs, back, shoulders, arms and hands are all data-collection inputs for doing her job
- She grew up in Puerto Rico and credits her parents for her methodical approach and mechanical inclination
If you appreciate the ride comfort, handling and responsiveness of the 2010 Ford Taurus – in any of its variants – be sure to thank Cristina Rodriguez.
Rodriguez – “Crissy” to family, friends and co-workers – is the vehicle dynamics development engineer responsible for the way the new Taurus feels on the road.
“The new Taurus is offered in four configurations or variants,” said Rodriguez. “You have the front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, the high-performance all-wheel drive SHO and the upgraded SHO performance package.”
Each version is developed to meet Ford’s Vehicle Dynamics DNA and give the vehicle a point of view. The non-SHO models are tuned to provide the same engaging, confidence-inspiring on-road behavior even as one version is front-wheel drive and the other offers the traction and additional capability of all-wheel drive. The Taurus SHO, including the performance package, are tuned with the enthusiast driver in mind and offer higher capability, improved response and road feel.
“To do what I do, my body becomes a finely-calibrated instrument,” said Rodriguez. “My legs, my back, shoulders, arms and hands all become data-collection inputs. This is my eighth year of development work with the D-platform chassis, so I’ve had lots of time to explore its capabilities and its limits. The results are the four different chassis calibrations.”
Rodriguez grew up in Puerto Rico and credits her parents for her methodical approach and mechanical inclination.
“My father is a chemical engineer, and he taught me to be analytical,” said Rodriguez. “My mother, on the other hand, encouraged me to take things apart then reassemble them. She never seemed upset if there were leftover parts, either.”
Rodriguez earned her Bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She went on to obtain her Masters degree from the University of Michigan. While pursuing her graduate degree, Rodriguez interned at Ford during the summer. The Ford College Graduate Program opened the door for her, upon conclusion of her studies.
After a dozen years with Ford, she has advanced to become a vehicle dynamics development engineer, the only female to currently do so. In 2005, she was named as the lead suspension development engineer on the Taurus and Taurus X vehicle lines. Her responsibilities include managing the tradeoffs between ride qualities and handling responsiveness, in addition to steering calibration and “feel.”
Rodriguez’ success is a direct reflection of her unique ability to balance and reconcile objective, quantitative data with the subjective “seat-of-the-pants” feel one can only acquire after years of development driving, within the controlled environment of the test track.
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 201,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.
Sept. 30, 2009