Staff writer

DEARBORN, Mich. -- A designer at Ford Motor Co. can send ideas and data electronically to designers at other Ford facilities all over the world. In a similar manner, exchange of design and information has recently begun with Ford's Japanese partner, Mazda Motor Co., according to an official at Ford's design center at company headquarters.

"The relationship with Mazda is good at a design level. We have a common program, and we have designers from Mazda here to work together," says Claude Lobo, director of design at Ford's small and medium vehicle center in the U.S.