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Ford Design Center set to expand
by John O'Brien   
 
CAD images of the Cologne-Merkenich site expansion. Click for larger images

Symbolic of the importance it plays in Ford's small car strategy, the automakers Design Center in Cologne, Germany, is about to receive a €11.6m redevelopment.

Construction is already underway on the facility's new wing, which will include design studios and 100 workplaces. The 3,000 square-meter extension is set to be completed by the end of the year.

In addition to the new section, the project also sees a redesign of the existing studios as well as the installation of new computer-aided milling machines and a 'powerwall', allowing for the projection of 3D models and virtual environments.

Cologne is key to Ford's small car drive, with both the Focus and Fiesta being heavily engineered and designed at the site. "The expertise of the design team in Cologne-Merkenich is helping kinetic design to become increasingly important for Ford on a global basis," Executive Director of Design for Ford Europe, Martin Smith, said.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the extension was presided over by dignitaries and senior officials from Ford, with the foundation stone being laid last week. Speaking at the event, Ford of Germany Chairman Bernhard Mattes highlighted the importance and relevance of the Cologne-based studios, stating: "This is an important expansion of the Ford Design Center as Cologne-Merkenich has the global lead on the design and development of Ford's small and compact vehicles."

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