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Christopher Chapman To Head Design For Hyundai America

2012 Hyundai Veloster

2012 Hyundai Veloster

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Hyundai has announced that former BMW designer Christopher Chapman has been appointed to the position of Chief Designer at the Hyundai America Technical Center, Inc. (HATCI). In this role, he will have overall responsibility for new vehicle and concept vehicle design.

Chapman takes over from Philip Zak, who joined Hyundai from General Motors in 2009, and returned to GM earlier this year.

Chapman’s career spans some 22 years, beginning with his hire by Isuzu in 1989. At Isuzu, he was responsible for the exterior styling of the XU-1 show car, which took the Best Concept award at the 1993 Tokyo Motor Show.

In 1994, Chapman joined BMW’s DesignworksUSA, where he was tasked with exterior styling of the BMW X5 crossover and the X Coupe concept car. His work with the German automaker ultimately produced the new X5, X3, Z4 and initial 1-Series coupe.

In recent years, Chapman has directed the Transportation Design group at Designworks, which works on aviation, marine and public mobility design instead of automotive design.

Hyundai Motor America president and CEO John Krafcik said of Chapman’s hiring, “We are proud to add such a talented individual to lead the team of dedicated designers at HATCI that will continue to develop innovative vehicles for both the United States and global auto markets.”
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Comments (8)

  2. This should be rather interesting because I think Hyundai is brave and bold enough to bring someone in from the likes of BMW. Let's not forget that Kia worked pretty closely with Audi design to produce some rather impressive vehicles not only design wise but in developing impressive engines and transmissions.
    A company like Honda would never be this bold. There in lies the difference as to which company will be successful in the long term. Time will tell all. My money is on Hyundai/Kia and not Honda.

  3. @Matt, you raise an interesting point - Hyundai wants to be Honda, and Honda is a company that's rested on its laurels over the past 5 years. When customers and media alike pointed out how ugly and impractical the Crosstour was, Honda did nothing but defend its design. They won't pull the plug on the Ridgeline, even though they sold fewer trucks from January through October 2011 than Ford sold of its discontinued, 14-year-old Ranger in a single month. The new Civic isn't just sub-par for Honda, it's sub-par for the entire segment.

    If Hyundai keeps on keeping on, and brings up quality just a bit more, they'll be the new Honda in a few years.

  4. Hi Kurt,
    If you were able to get into the "thick skull" of Honda what would you find as to why Honda is thinking this way.....being pig headed and not listening to the feedback from their critics but also their customers.

  5. @Matt, in a word - hubris. Honda has been atop the charts so long, they've forgotten what it's like to struggle for market share.

    Now, they've been hit with a trifecta of falling global sales, rising costs and production stoppages due to the earthquake and tsunami. It will take Honda a few years to get back in form, but only if it begins addressing problems immediately (which we have reason to believe it has).

  6. "Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power".

    Right on the money with this one Kurt!
    I'm not convienced that Honda can get it's act together in time to stay competitive. Playing "catch-up" IMHO means spending more time, enegry and money than staying competative. This is especially difficult when Honda bas to do damage control across their entire model model line up.
    Honda's "bunker mentality" will do them in unless that mindset changes. That's a greater challenge than all the other obsticals that you menthioned.

  7. PS I see I should have done some editing before I hit the "Post" button. My coffee hasn't kicked in just yet :-)

  8. Thanks Matt. No need to explain regarding the need for caffeine - we've all been there...

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