Ford completes $14 million overhaul of German design studio
Ford has opened an 11.6 million euro ($14.5 million) expansion of its design studios at Merkenich-Cologne in Germany.
Global design work for Ford's subcompact and compact vehicles, including Fiesta and Focus, is done at the center, which is close to the automaker's Cologne factory where the Fiesta is built.
The expansion is the largest since the studios were constructed in 1968 and increases the size by 3,000 square meters to 16,000 square meters, equivalent to two soccer pitches.
Officially called the Ford Design Centre, the studios now have a giant computer screen dubbed the powerwall that can project designs in three-dimensional and virtual environments.
The upgrade also includes new milling machines that use computer-aided design to create precise clay models of new vehicles for aerodynamic wind tunnel testing. The studios have had a wind tunnel since 1984.
"The Design Centre expansion will provide employees with a highly motivational environment in which they are free to further develop Ford's design philosophy." said Ford of Europe's head of design, Martin Smith, in a statement.
Work started on the expansion in April 2011.
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