Gallery: INTERVIEW: Inhabitat Chats with J Mays, VP of Global Design an...


Automotive designer J Mays has become well-known as the design director of Ford Motor Company. Born in rural Oklahoma, Mays started working at his family’s auto parts store at an early age with aspirations of becoming an architect, but eventually found his calling in car design while at the Art Center in Pasadena. An automotive design pioneer with more than 30 years under his belt, Mays has been involved in the design of a number of the car industry’s most well-recognized automobiles, including the VW “New Beetle”, Aston Martin DB9, Land Rover LR3/Discovery, Ford GT, 2011 Ford Fiesta, 2012 Focus (including the Focus EV), and the new green 2013 Ford Fusion—just to name a few! For the last 16 years he’s been leading the charge at Ford as the Vice President of Global Design and Chief Creative Officer and has played a critical role in bringing a new generation of stylish, green, high-performance electric and hybrid vehicles to a mainstream market. I recently got the chance to chat with Mays about his monumental career, and I’ve published our interview here. Click ahead to read the entire interview, where Mays touches on his global travels, his design ethos and influences, the current market for hybrid and electric vehicles, and what he sees for the future of zero-emissions vehicles, both at Ford and on a global scale.

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  1. NormaJean June 6, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    This was a great interview. He had some great points during the live webcast you streamed. I could really understand where he was coming from when he was talking about his son’s computer being like a hot rod and how car ownership is very different with younger generations

  2. jonberger June 6, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    What a trip to know that one of your design heroes is driving a car that you yourself designed!

  3. Taz Loomans May 31, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Wow great interview! As an architect, I completely relate to the lessons May has learned from Philip Johnson, Mies, Corbu, and Wright. And I really love his comment that the better you know the world, the better designer you’ll be. So much for the idea that you should be stuck in your studio 24/7!

  4. Morgana Matus May 31, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Ah, you had me at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water!

  5. Tafline Laylin May 30, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Thanks for this wonderful interview. It’s intriguing to have such a frank inside look at the design process behind one of the world’s most influential companies. I’m looking forward to seeing a future of smarter, more efficient vehicles and I’m glad Ford is on board to deliver them.

  6. Alyssa Alimurung May 29, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Interesting interview. I didn’t realize the Fusion Engeri was so green. Soybean interiors and Repreve upholstery — amazing!

  7. Diane Pham May 29, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    great interview! i couldn’t agree more with the comment about travel really shaping the way you see the world, process information and how you find inspiration.

  8. Yuka Yoneda May 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Just fascinating – especially the part about Philip Johnson!

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