Chris Bangle, the man behind the controversial BMW designs over the last several decades has announced he is leaving his post at BMW after 17 years. Bangle became the Director of the BMW Design Group in 1992 and has since become one of the world’s most famous infamous automotive designers.
Under Bangle’s leadership BMW has produced many new designs including the BMW Z3, BMW Z4, BMW X5, BMW Z8, BMW X3, the new BMW 6 Series, the BMW X6 and the BMW 1 Series. Bangle’s design department also developed the designs for the new MINI and the Rolls-Royce Phantom (at least he got one of them right). Bangle will more likely be remembered for the drastic new direction that he took vehicles like the BMW 7 and 5 Series in. He is also responsible for several new 3 Series designs.
Bangle will be replaced by Adrian van Hooydonk, the currently Head of BMW Automobile Design, who Bangle has worked with for the past 17 years.
“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, and together with his teams he has mapped out a clear and aesthetic route into the future,” said Dr Klaus Draeger, BMW AG’s Board Member for Development.
Bangle has announced that he will not only be leaving BMW but the automotive industry in general, to pursue alternate design interests. He has stated, however, that he intends to keep close ties to BMW.
Caption: Adrian van Hooydonk
Bangle describes his replacement at “truly a top professional in our business,” adding that, “I am sure that the many strong design strategies he has helped us create for the BMW Group will continue to develop and evolve.”
Van Hooydonk, 44, was born in the Netherlands, studied at Delft Polytechnic University in Holland and at the Art Center Europ in Vevey, Switzerland, until 1992 when he went to work for BMW. In 2000 he went to California to work at BMW’s Designworks USA offices. He then was promoted to Head of the Brand Design Studio for BMW Automobiles. In his new position he will be responsible for design development for the BMW, Rolls-Royce and MINI brands.
His influence is already obvious on the 6 Series and 7 Series and he was highly involved in the Z9 concept car, the M1 Hommage and the stunning BMW Concept CS.
“I am honoured and extremely excited to take on this new responsibility“, said van Hooydonk. “BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce produce the best cars and motorcycles in their segment, and I am really looking forward to being able to contribute to the future development of these brands. I have no doubt that there are challenges ahead, but BMW’s depth in engineering and the passion of its talented design team are as strong as ever. Together I am sure we will be able to create some very sophisticated and extremely attractive concepts.”
Official release after the jump: