Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hyundai signs top BMW designer

 Christopher Chapman, formerly of Izuzu and BMW Designworks  has been named chief designer of the Hyundai Design Center in Irvine, Calif. Chapman is replacing Philip Zak, who left Hyundai last spring to rejoiin the General Motors desiign staff. In his new position, Chapman will be responsible for new vehicle and concept design for Hyundai and his appointment is widely considered a sign Hyundai will continue to pursue an aggressive design direction. "With over 22 years of experience in the industry working on esteemed automotive brands, Chris provides a level of talent that will help further our design portfolio," said SukGeun Oh, Vice President Hyundai Design.
Champman started his career with the Isuzu Technical Center of America in Cerritos, Calif. in 1989 and was the designer selected for the exterior of the XU-1 show car, which won Best Concept at its 1993 Tokyo Motor Show debut.  In 1994, Chris joined the BMW Group at DesignworksUSA in Newbury Park, California.  Among the variety of concept and production programs, Chris designed the exteriors of the X5 Sport Activity Vehicle and X Coupe concept car.  Chris and his family relocated to Munich, Germany for a two year assignment to immerse in the BMW culture. There he also designed the CS1 concept shown at the Geneva Auto Salon in 2002, followed by the 1 Series production Coupe and its derivatives.
In 2002, Chris was appointed Director of Automotive Design at BMW’s California studio and has been responsible for guiding several advanced and production vehicles including the new X5, X3, Z4 and the first BMW 1-series E87.  Since 2008, Chris has additionally directed the Transportation Design department, which includes Designworks' external partners in aviation, marine, and public mobility.
"Christopher Chapman is an outstanding addition to the design team at HATCI," said John Krafcik, president and chief executive officer, Hyundai Motor America. "We are proud to add such a talented individual to lead the team of dedicated designers at HATCI that will continue to develop innovative vehicles for both the United States and global auto markets."
A native of Pasadena, Calif.Chapman graduated from Art Center College of Design with a Bachelor of Science degree in Transportation Design.  By Joseph Szczesny


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