Even though Hyundai’s current “fluidic design” language gets much credit for helping boost the company’s sales, it looks like we’ll see some significant changes in style in the near future. Chris Chapman, well known in industry circles for his work at BMW, is now joining the South Korean automaker as chief designer at the Hyundai America Technical Center in Irvine, Calif.
It’s a major coup for Hyundai, as Chapman has been highly successful as a guiding force for BMW. Since joining the automaker in 1994, he worked his way up to becoming Director of Automotive Design and has developed a wide range of winners, across a number of different segments. Chapman’s projects have included sports coupes (BMW Z4) and crossovers (BMW X3 and BMW X5), as well as concepts (X Coupe) and more traditional products (BMW 1 Series). He also was named director of BMW’s overall Transportation Design department in 2008.
For Hyundai, the hiring reads as a clear signal of the company’s intent to keep moving towards a premium position in the marketplace, driven by a more sophisticated approach to design.