Pat Schiavone is design director for Ford's North American trucks, including Mercury and Lincoln SUVs and crossovers. Prior to this assignment, he directed design of the next generation of Ford cars, and before that led design of the current F-150.
TT: What were your objectives in designing today's F-150?
PS: One thing about the previous F-150 was that some thought it was too soft and aerodynamic. It ended up doing well, but we felt the next one could be just as aerodynamic and a little more trucky. Ford F-150 customers like a big, strong, bold truck, so the Super Duty had a lot of influence on it. We knew we could be bolder with the front end especially, because that's what this customer wants. Fit and finish was another big part of it. A lot of the design development we did was around the fit and finish.
Then, once we got into it, we found something even more dramatic. Working with the marketing group, we came up with what ended up being the most important part of the whole program: the defining of each model of the series, where the XL is a completely different vehicle from the XLT, and the FX4, the Lariat, and the King Ranch. That put the whole design into hyperspace, because it allowed us to really clarify each one of those products.
TT: And the interior?
PS: We wanted to invent something called tough luxury. We felt truck interiors have been stagnant, so that was a great opportunity to completely redefine the pickup interior. Just because you're driving a truck doesn't mean you don't want a nice interior around you.
TT: Can you give us a clue about the next generation?
PS: You'll see us being a little more dramatic in our future trucks. We're going to have to push the design envelope out as far as we can. The Tonka [concept] was to the current F-150 what the Super Chief is to the next generation. Not every element will reach production, but the Super Chief will influence those products just like the Tonka influenced the current ones.
Kevin Hunter is vice president, design and studio operations, for Calty Design Research, Inc., Toyota's North American studio. Before that, he was chief designer for the 1996 Tacoma, 2000 Avalon, 2001 RAV4, 2002 Matrix, and 2001 Tokyo Motor Show RSC concept.
TT: What were your objectives for this new Tundra?
KH: First, we needed to do an actual full-size truck, to scale it up and make it feel big. On our first few tries, we were deficient in that area--this was the no-excuses truck. The term we coined during the process was, "work hard, play hard." It should look like it can get a job done and function well and should have some fun doing it.
The styling phrase was "power of the fist," which you can see in the profile. It's the blunt, upright front end and the energy that emanates from the rear quarter, thrusting forward in a powerful motion. We wanted to create a bold front identity, so we arrived at this reverse trapezoid grille and the double slot. The hard part was appealing to the core American truck buyers' values, but doing it in our own Toyota way. We didn't want to copy what the domestics are doing, but there are core attributes we needed to have to compete in this segment.
TT:What was your toughest challenge?
KH: Trying to get the FTX concept into our production engineering package. We spent a lot of time in full-size clay going back and forth between engineering and styling criteria to arrive at the final solution. Everyone understood the importance styling played, so we really had to go after that. We couldn't allow engineering to dictate too much. One area where we struggled was beltline height. The FTX had a very high belt and a compressed cabin to give it some character. But to create a useful truck, we had to lower the beltline quite a bit. From a styling standpoint, I wish we could've raised it up slightly to give it more attitude.