Former Ford engineering boss Richard Parry-Jones dies Car News

Richard Parry-Jones, former Ford group vice president responsible for global product development, has died in an accident at his farm in Wales.

Parry-Jones, 70, had a distinguished engineering career at Ford for almost 40 years. He will be most remembered for bringing a new, much higher level of vehicle dynamics to Ford’s European cars, starting with the Mondeo in 1993 and working across the range until the all-important Focus launch. in 1998, which set new standards for cars of its type across the world.

His secret weapon was still communication. Successive teams of young engineers were inspired by him, and the management he met (then joined) converted to his way of thinking through his unique combination of eloquence and exceptional engineering know-how.

Parry-Jones’ success led to his appointment as Ford’s technical director, which has enabled him to lead 30,000 engineers around the world. It also broadened its influence to the many Ford-owned brands of the day, including Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Volvo and Aston Martin. This role also allowed him to bring his dynamic philosophy of excellence to Ford’s global portfolio, where he continues to thrive today.

Exceptionally adept at making his case to reporters, Parry-Jones quickly rose to fame for a car evaluation procedure known as the “50-meter test,” which he said was more effective at detecting the real one. behavior of a car than driving at the limit. test tracks. In 50 yards, he said, a discerning driver could tell whether he was driving a good car or not. He has also said, convincingly and often, that it is much more difficult to design and develop a top family sedan than a simple million pound supercar.

The improvement of Ford vehicles in the 1990s and 2000s had a great influence on rival companies like Volkswagen, Renault, the PSA Group and Opel-Vauxhall: the benign influence of Parry-Jones also brought improvement to everyone. of his company’s main rivals. At one point he was courted by VW’s Ferdinand PiĆ«ch, but opted to stay with the company he had joined as a graduate trainee in 1969.

Parry-Jones, who won Autocar’s Man of the Year award in 1994, retired from Ford in 2007 to pursue a career as a consultant advising the Welsh government on economic development issues, transport and energy and also become one of the founders of the Automotive Council, a very effective means of cooperation between the UK government and the automotive industry. He was also president of the Marshall Motor Holdings dealer group.

Recently, Parry-Jones had joined the board of directors of Aston Martin Lagonda, a company where he had greatly improved the range of cars of the 1990s, especially from a dynamic point of view. He was a longtime rugby fan, a brilliant communicator and a loyal Welshman to the end.

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This notice was published: 2021-04-16 18:26:03