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Ernst Reim,
chief designer,
Interiors, Ford of Europe
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  • Ernst Reim is the chief designer, Interiors, Ford of Europe. He and his team created the driver-oriented, kinetic design of the interior of the next-generation Ford Focus
  • Reim grew up fascinated with designing futuristic aircraft, perhaps making him ideal to shape the cockpit feel of the next-generation Ford Focus
  • The interior features expressive sculpting that envelopes the driver

Ford picked the right man to shape the cockpit feel of the next-generation Ford Focus interior since Ernst Reim’s original design inspirations were futuristic planes and helicopters.

Reim is the chief designer, Interiors, Ford of Europe, based in Merkenich, Germany, in greater Cologne.

Reim and his team have shaped the next-generation Focus interior to reflect, more than ever, the kinetic design-inspired, sleek exterior shape of the Focus and its compelling driver’s appeal – the feeling of energy in motion. The interior is just as expressive and kinetic as the exterior.

Reim, a youthful 40, calls it a cockpit interior. It’s clearly built around the driver.

Designing cockpits is nothing new to Reim, an Austrian native.

“As a child, I developed a love for moving sculptures, but more about aviation, like futuristic planes and helicopters,” Reim said. “For my first diploma at university, I created a helicopter.”

The helicopter design was noticed by the chief designer of Volkswagen, who offered Reim an internship. This led to a full-time role as interior designer at the German firm and later to a position with Ford.

“I really enjoy leading the interior design team at Ford,” Reim says. “Developing inspiring new interiors for the future is our challenge and we have a great team spirit and a positive mind-set about our future products, like the new Ford Focus.”

Reim’s next-generation Focus interior visually wraps around the driver, using expressive sculpting of the upper instrument panel surfaces to create a feeling of enveloping the driver, who now sits purposefully lower. The carefully shaped steering wheel, displays and controls are all oriented to the driver. This truly reflects the overall design spirit of this next-generation vehicle as dynamic and fun to drive.

Reim studied industrial design at the University of Art and Industrial Design in Linz, Austria.

He said the next-generation Focus is a major step forward from an interior design point of view.

“The environment we’ve created for the driver is very special,” he said. “The design is reflected in the carefully chosen materials throughout the cabin, and the levels of craftsmanship are extremely high. These elements come together to create a great driving experience that matches the dynamic capabilities of the car…and they are complemented by excellent ride quality and reduced noise levels in the cabin.”

Reim’s first car was a VW Beetle 1600S. “I tuned it and drove it until it fell apart!” he said.
He is very specific about his favorite Ford of all time. “Oh, yes, it’s the Gulf Ford GT40 number 6, the 24 Hours of Le Mans winner in 1969, the year I was born. In my opinion, this is the most beautiful racing car of its time.”
Reim lives in the center city of Cologne and enjoys playing with his dog in the Stadtgarten park near his residence. He also enjoys photography, art, architecture and playing the piano, when he’s not keeping up with all the car magazines that are part of the trade.

Personal Insights and Fun Facts

  • Reim drives a variety of current Ford products
  • He wants a blue Ford Mustang GT390 with white racing stripes and a GT40 Gulf No. 6 from the 1969 24 Hours of Le Mans
  • His favorite car film is James Bond’s The Spy Who Loved Me, which featured a Lotus Esprit that turned into a submarine

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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 200,000 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

Jan. 11, 2010

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