For the past decade, Mini's design team has been led by designer Gert Hildebrand -- but that will soon change. BMW announced today that the 57-year-old Hildebrand will surrender his position by the end of the month.
Although Frank Stephenson is credited with designing the first iteration of the revived Mini, which launched in 2001, the brand's subsequent production and conceptual designs have all borne Hildebrand's fingerprints.
You'll need a microscope, however, to see them: the designer has long touted the need for continuity in Mini design, and most of the brand's offerings continue to abide by the fundamentals established by the first-gen car. Vehicles like the Clubman and Countryman have been somewhat controversial, but they -- along with the Coupe, Roadster, and Beachcomber concepts -- have pushed the envelope of the Mini portfolio without straying far from the brand's visual identity. Hildebrand started his career at Opel in the early 1980s, before joining Volkswagen later in the decade, ultimately working on the Golf III and making his way into the Seat design studios. After spearheading design on the 1998 Toledo and Leon, the designer switched over to Mitsubishi's European design studios for a few years before accepting his position with Mini in January of 2001. Hildebrand hasn't announced his future motives, but given his long career, we wouldn't be surprised if he's opting to retire. BMW announced Hildebrand's successor is none other than Anders Warming, presently the head of exterior design for BMW automobiles. Save for a brief stint at Volkswagen from 2003-2005, Warming has long been a BMW man, starting his career with the company at the firm's DesignWorksUSA subsidiary in 1997. Vehicles created under Warming's hand include the radical GINA concept, the current 5 Series range, and the new 2012 6 Series. "I would like to wish Gert Hildebrand all the best for the future, and thank him for working with us so well and so successfully," Adrian van Hooydonk, BMW Group design chief, said in a prepared statement. "Anders Warming has the expertise, the necessary experience, and the intuition to take the Mini brand into a ever more successful future." Source: BMW/ Mini