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Ford Finally Is Getting Serious About Design

New York International Auto ShowNew York International Auto Show
Matthias Seidl, vice president of global sales with Saab Automobile AB, left, Victor Muller, CEO of Saab Automobile AB, and Jason Castriota, designer with Saab, stand for a photograph in front of a Saab PhoeniX concept vehicle at the New York International Auto Show on April 21, 2011. Photograph by Andrew Harrer — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ford Motor Company has been putting a lot of effort into design lately. There was the new GT super car/race car last year, and the killer aluminum Raptor and handsome, credible reimagined Lincoln Continental this year. Now another, less publicized but no less important signal: Designer Jason Castriota just joined Ford as global advanced design chief, based in Dearborn. (He reports to Freeman Thomas, the global director of global advanced design, who oversees the company’s four international studios.)

Ford PR confirmed the hire.

A Maserati Birdcage 75th concept car is on display during its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show.A Maserati Birdcage 75th concept car designed by Pininfarina is on display during its world debut at the 75th Geneva motor Show on March 2, 2005.Photograph by Reuters

For anyone who doesn’t immediately know Castriota’s name, let me recount a few of his many successes. Castriota had a hand in many high-end, high-performance cars, like the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, the Maserati GranTurismo, the Maserati Birdcage 75th, the one-off Ferrari P 4/5, the Saab PhoeniX concept…I’ll stop there, but you get the idea.

From his past work, it’s clear that Castriota has a clear vision, superb taste and the experience to bring sexy and practical cars to market. So, hats off to Ford; now let’s hope Ford lets Castriota and his team loose in the studio.

What’s on my Ford wish list? An “entry-level” sports car sharing DNA with the GT. A four-door Mustang—convertible. A Lincoln high-performance luxury coupe. A Bronco that lives up to the original.

Opening Of The Paris Auto Show In Paris, France On September 28, 2006.The Ferrari Pininfarina P4/5 at the opening of the Paris auto show on September 28, 2006.Photograph by Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

What would you like to see Ford build?