BMW design boss Bangle quits auto industry
Automotive News Europe
February 3, 2009 13:52 CET
UPDATED: 09/02/03 14:55 CET
ENLARGEBMW's Chris Bangle (right) is leaving the auto industry. He will be succeeded by Adrian van Hooydonk (left).
MUNICH -- BMW Group's design head Chris Bangle is quitting "to pursue his own design-related endeavors beyond the auto industry," the German carmaker said Tuesday.
Adrian van Hooydonk, head of design for BMW brand, will succeed Bangle with immediate effect, BMW said.
"Christopher Bangle has had a lasting impact on the identity of BMW Group's brands. His contribution to the company's success has been decisive," said Klaus Draeger, BMW's development chief, in a statement.
America-born Bangle, 52, joined BMW in 1992 and modernized the conservative styling of the premium brand's cars. Bangle's distinctive themes of flame surfacing and pronounced trunk lids aroused strong opposition from many in the industry but the styling was a commercial success, helping BMW to overtake rival Mercedes-Benz as the global No. 1 premium brand by unit sales in 2006.
Draeger said Bangle had mapped out a clear design route for BMW. He said van Hooydonk will continue and build on Bangle's philosophy.
After studying at the University of Wisconsin and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Bangle started his career at GM's German subsidiary Opel. He joined Fiat in 1985 and rose to become head of Fiat's styling center before quitting to join BMW.
Bangle and his team designed the current BMW 3-, 5- and 7-Series and other models including the Z3, X5 and X3 He also oversaw the design of BMW Group's Mini and Rolls-Royce cars.
Dutch-born Van Hooydonk, 44, joined BMW in 1992. He was director of BMW subsidiary Designworks USA in California from 2001 to 2004.
Van Hooydonk heavily influenced the designs of BMW’s upcoming Progressive Activity Sedan, which will debut at the Geneva auto show in March, as well as the 6- and 7-Series and Z9 and CS concept cars.