[YesAuto Technology·Design Channel] At the beginning of the new year, everything seems to be not going too smoothly. The domestic automobile industry still faces many challenges. Chery's total car sales in 2019 did not sell more than in 2018, and recently, the high-paying foreign design director Kevin Rice, who was hired from Mazda, left his job in a low-key manner.
—— It turns out that Chery has such a great design world god!
Kevin Rice's domestic popularity may not be too high, because he has only been with Chery for more than a year, and Chery has not put Kevin on the advertising page like BYD's former Audi design director Iger. Kevin officially joined Chery Automobile on October 1, 2018 as the vice president of group design and chief designer.
He has been passionate about car design since he was a child. He graduated from Coventry University (which is world-renowned for car design), worked in many car companies such as Opel, Ford, BMW, Mazda, and worked in the studio of design master Giugiaro. He is a successful example of truly becoming a design director from a first-line designer.
The most outstanding achievement in Kevin’s career was undoubtedly made in Mazda. He was one of the early designers who participated in the planning of Mazda’s “Soul Motion Design” and played a core role in promoting Mazda’s exterior design. This is enough to be included in his resume. The most eye-catching line.
What Kevin has always admired is a design-driven car company, which is an important reason why he chose Mazda at the beginning . Perhaps this is also the ideal of every car designer. Car companies put product design first, expressing the designer's ideas as much as possible while meeting functional requirements and engineering requirements.
Chinese car companies not only need a design world who can develop brand design and establish a design system, but also people who can truly integrate into China and live in China for a long time. Today's Chinese car companies have no shortage of design directors. In recent years, they have hired many foreign car design directors. Famous car designers from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and even Bentley are rushing to come to China to attract gold, so the competition pressure in the design circle is very high. .
We have no way of knowing the reasons behind the resignation of Chery . Perhaps it is the inability to adapt to the frequent trips between China and Europe, the disagreement with Chery's senior management, or other personal reasons. We still feel very sorry for the design world's great god's departure from a Chinese car company, because we have not seen his ideas come to fruition, and Chery has not yet launched a mass-produced car completely led by him.
Even at the speed of research and development of Chinese car companies, it usually takes about 24 to 36 months to develop a new model from scratch (it often takes longer for major international manufacturers due to the more diversified market involved). Kevin works for Chery. In his short career, he obviously couldn't complete the task of mass production. The Xingtu E-IUV concept car can be said to be the only car that showed Kevin's design skills and ideas to the outside world during his tenure at Chery. What is the level of it? Dear friends, just look at the picture.
Xingtu E-IUV is a relatively abstract concept car, and the design details are not too many. I believe this is due to Kevin's tight time. However, Xingtu E-IUV still expresses some new ideas brought by Kevin, such as the horizontally penetrating “one-word eyebrow”, the slender car lights reflect the sense of science and technology, and are connected with the air intake grille; body type The strong contrast of light and shadow reflects a more dynamic running posture than the previous Chery models.
—— Changes before and after Kevin joined Chery
Prior to Kevin, Chery's styling design was also dominated by a foreigner design director. His name was James Hope and he had worked for Ford and Opel. From 2012 to 2018, James Hope was at the helm of Chery's design direction. He is a designer who has worked in China for a long time, and he has also brought many excellent design works to Chery. Previously, Chery said that it had sent James Hope to Europe to plan Chery's overseas design center, and it no longer led the design of Chery products on the front line.
With the overall trend of Chinese brands developing towards high-end, Chery realized a few years ago that they needed a higher-end brand image to carry more refined and high-end products, which is now the way to achieve mass production.
During Kevin's tenure at Chery, we saw more cases of improvements on the original models, as well as the Star Way brand's design ideas for new energy vehicles. From the perspective of the front design, the most obvious is that the Chery models in the past two years have expanded the area of the air intake grille and “the mouth has become larger.”
——Who is the new design director?
Currently, Chery has not officially announced its new design director. Steve Eum, its current vice president and general manager of design, may take over Kevin's position. Of course, Chery may also airborne a foreign figure in the design industry, because it is not difficult for Chery to find a new design director. However, the introduction of a new design leadership will take a long time to run in and it will be more challenging. Faced with the difficult 2020, perhaps Chery may choose to maintain stability more conservatively.
—— written at the end
The design of Chinese cars has improved very rapidly. Part of the reason is the introduction of many big-name designers who have systematically planned the design of Chinese brands. The other part is the improvement of the Chinese car's background and the improvement of factory manufacturing levels, allowing designers to play A higher degree of freedom. Kevin Rice's departure from Chery will not have a significant impact, because as early as James Hope's Chery era, a mature independent design process has been established. Whether Chery's design can achieve greater breakthroughs in the future, we will wait and see. (Part of Xia Zhimeng's pictures of Wenjiajia comes from the Internet)