Tuesday, March 5, 2013

China's Chery hires ex-Porsche designer

China's Chery has appointed ex-Porsche designer Hakan Saracoglu as the head of its new design center in Shanghai.  

Chery plucked 47-year old Saracoglu from Porsche's design team last October and recently promoted him.  In his new position, he is in charge of a team made up of 30 designers whose task is to help give Chery a design language that it can apply to its entire range of vehicles.  In the past, the automaker has often outsourced its design work to miscellaneous firms inside and outside of China so its cars lack a strong brand identity.

While at Porsche, Saracoglu worked on the 918 Spyder, the Boxster and the Cayman.  His expertise will undoubtedly help Chery to build better-looking cars in the short run but its new design identity will not be created immediately.

"Having somebody with a known profile gives you more credibility. But it's going to take a long time to really embed those capabilities," explained Bill Russo, the president of an auto consultancy called Synergistic, in an interview with Bloomberg.

Saracoglu is one of Chery's first European executive but its joint-venture Qoros hired ex-MINI designer Gert Volker Hildebrand to help design the 3 Sedan that will make its world debut next week in Geneva.

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