Chinese automaker Chery Automobile has hired a former Porsche designer to lead its Shanghai design center. Bloomberg reports that Chery hired 47-year-old Hakan Saracoglu from Porsche in October 2012.
Saracoglu, born in Turkey but a German national, reportedly worked on projects including the Porsche 918 Spyder, Boxster, and Cayman. Before joining Porsche in 1998, he worked at Ford in Germany on the Focus, Puma, and Mondeo. In his new role with Chery, Saracoglu will reportedly lead a team of 30 designers and is tasked with creating auto-show concept cars encompassing everything from sedans to SUVs. Chery also co-owns startup Qoros Auto, which will show a production-ready sedan and two concept cars at the Geneva Motor Show.
Several Chinese automakers have recruited design talent from overseas companies in recent years. Bloomberg says that Beijing Automotive Group hired former Ferrari Daytona designer Leonardo Fioravanti, Great Wall Motor Co. hired former Mercedes-Benz stylist Andreas Deufel in 2011, and Zhejiang Geely Holding hired former Volvo designer Peter Horbury.
There is precedent for an Asian automaker hiring a European stylist to revamp its image. Kia hired Peter Schreyer from Audi in 2006, tasking him with reinventing the company’s design language and styling. He was so successful that, in addition to being named our 2012 Man of the Year, Schreyer recently was appointed the first non-Korean president in the history of Kia Motors.
The Chinese-market Chery Fulwin 2 and Chery Riich M1 EV are pictured.