ATLANTA, March 12, 2009 – Popular culture is filled with examples of cars inspiring music. The Beach Boys loved their "Little Deuce Coupe" and, of course, Wilson Pickett sang about "Mustang Sally."
Turns out it's a two-way street: Music can inspire car designers, too.
A diverse range of musical artists, including Alicia Keys, Paul Oakenfold, Kem, Anthony Hamilton and Citizen Cope, influenced the design of the all-new 2010 Taurus.
"Music helps us visual people paint pictures in our head," said Earl Lucas, Exterior Design manager for the all-new Taurus. "We know the Taurus has to speak to a diverse group of people, so we chose artists who do the same with their songs."
Citizen Cope, in particular, struck a chord with the design team. He said the music was perfect for what Ford is trying to achieve with its fresh interpretation of its flagship sedan.
"Citizen Cope's music is so fresh and new – such a unique sound," Lucas said. "Fresh, new and unique are some of the same qualities we were looking for in the new Taurus, so the music is such a great match to the vibe we were aiming for with the car."
Songs that are straightforward and simple in particular tapped into the Taurus vibe.
"There's an unpretentious dynamic to Taurus," Lucas said. "The new car is more upscale and sporty, but it's also subtle and can be appreciated and desired without being in your face."
Music in the Taurus Design Process
Lucas said designers typically listen to music while they're designing, either sketching on paper or rendering digitally. "The better the music, the more inspired the designer is when coming up with shapes," Lucas said. "You just feel more creative. Music allows the designer to get into a space that is away from the pressure of the job."
Music also was a key part of early presentations to the Ford marketing and management teams and the dealer body by helping create strong, positive feelings going forward.
"We really wanted the music to set the stage for what the new Taurus was all about, to convey to others the excitement and pride the development team had while designing and engineering the car," said Kristin Hellman, assistant product marketing manager for Taurus. "We needed music that matched the emotion the car brings out in people when they see it for the first time.
"I worked on this program from the very start, watching the car develop every step of the way, and even I gasped the first time I saw our finished ‘show car,' " she said. "When we revealed the car to the larger Ford team, we had music that matched that enthusiasm. It really helped match the excitement level we were looking for, and the spontaneous standing ovation from the audience proved we had struck a chord."