Ford innovators at the company’s UK research and development centre originated the new Ford B-MAX’s ingenious door system. In studying ways to ease access in and out of a future small car, team members working on the Ford B-MAX project wanted completely unobstructed entry and exit. The Dunton Innovation Group came up with the idea of hinged front doors, sliding rear doors and integrating the central body pillars to create a 1.5-metre-wide opening.
Customer research had established that loading and unloading cars, especially from the side, needed to be as simple and easy as possible. This was not only said by parents and others ferrying children in their cars, but also by adults transporting older parents.
Prototype demonstrators pioneering the Easy Access Door System, which now features on the production Ford B-MAX, went to customer clinics in the UK and on the continent. Public reaction confirmed Ford’s plans to progress the innovation: “Wow, it’s like opening a flat or an apartment,” said one customer.
The Ford B-MAX programme transferred from embryonic development at Dunton to engineers at the company’s sister technical centre in Cologne for full engineering and testing.
“We delivered B-MAX with an innovative door system while retaining the stylish sweeping roofline which is contributing to its appeal today – so job done by the Dunton Innovation Group,” said Richard Brown.
Other innovations hatched by the Dunton team include the Ford Focus’ award-winning Door Edge Protector covered HERE . A mere £50 option, the protectors wrap round the side of the doors when open and fold away discreetly as they are shut.