As a keen cook, Gunnar Herrmann loves to serve a tasty paella to his family. But lately the veteran engineer isn't spending too much time in the kitchen. Instead, Herrmann is creating the master recipe for Ford's C-segment compact architecture that will underpin 10 vehicles.
The platform is a key part of Ford CEO Alan Mulally's One Ford plan to leverage the automaker's global scale. Herrmann said the strategy has energized Ford's product development plan.
"Being global doesn't mean being the same," Herrmann told Automotive News Europe. "Cars built on the platform are being styled to meet local market demands. For instance, in China, we add a lot of chrome."
Among the cars based on the platform is the latest Focus. Herrmann was body engineering manager for the original Focus that debuted in 1998. He has had a major role in the evolution of the car over three vehicle generations.
He said a major change since the first Focus is the number of different models that are now spun off a single platform.
"In the past, we built three- or five-door cars from a platform. Now we can have a minivan like the C-Max, an SUV, a van like the Transit Connect or a high-performance car like the Focus ST."
The German native joined Ford in 1986. He has been Ford of Europe's C-Car vehicle line director since 2002.
He developed a love of cooking alongside his passion for cars. But, said Herrmann, while you can experiment in the kitchen, you can't with cars. "If you ruin a meal, you can start again," Hermann said. "If you mess up a car, it takes years to recover."