After designing Porsches in Germany for the past 15 years, 47-year-old Hakan Saracoglu will head to Shanghai, China to lead a new design studio for state-owned automaker Chery.
Saracoglu, who during his tenure at Porsche helped style models like the upcoming 918 Spyder as well as the latest Cayman and Boxster, will now use his talents to help inject some much needed elegance in Chery’s future models.
Chery currently manufactures a range of compacts and is probably best known for its QQ minicar.
In 2007 the Chinese automaker came close to securing a deal to supply Chrysler with a new minicar, though both companies decided it was better to go their separate ways.
Since then Chery’s designs have been improving, and more recently it has formed an alliance with Jaguar Land Rover.
“Chery is not just QQ, we’re going to change that,” Saracoglu said during an interview with Bloomberg. “The company is redefining itself. Chery’s standing for value, for design and gaining customer confidence. That’s where we want to go.”
Saracoglu will lead a team of 30 at Chery’s Shanghai design studio and will work on both concepts and production models.
Born in Germany, Saracoglu completed a degree in transportation design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and has worked for Ford in addition to Porsche.
Saracoglu is just the latest in a growing list of foreign executives and designers being hired by Asian firms to help bolster their credibility in the auto industry. Longtime General Motors Europe executive Carl-Peter Forster recently joined Geely, and former Audi designer Peter Schreyer, who has dramatically helped the styling of Kia’s range, was recently promoted to President of Kia and head of design for both Kia and Hyundai.