Chinese car maker Chery has appointed a former Porsche designer to oversee its future vehicle styling direction as it attempts to boost its image and credibility over the coming years.

Industry journal Automotive News reports that Hakan Saracoglu, a key figure in the exterior design of the Porsche 918 Spyder, Boxster and Cayman, and who also worked for Ford on the Focus and Mondeo, will lead a team of 30 at the Shanghai-based Chery design centre in coming up with new concepts for vehicles ranging from sedans to SUVs.

Forty-seven year-old Saracoglu, who worked at Porsche for 15 years, is keen to help Chery expand out from its low-cost heritage.

“The company is redefining itself,” Saracoglu said.

“Chery is standing for value, for design and gaining customer confidence. That’s where we want to go.”

Chery J1 and J11

Chery is not only involved in a joint venture with Tata Motors’ Jaguar Land Rover to produce models in China, it also co-owns the new Chinese manufacturer Qoros whose executive director of design Gert Volker Hildebrand used to work for Mini, director of production Alexander Wortberg used to work for BMW, and executive director of vehicle engineering Klaus Schmidt was previously a senior manager at BMW’s M-Power division.

When asked how much of a salary increase he was offered to leave the German marque, the Turkish-born German national said, “I cannot comment on that. Let’s say I’m not unhappy.”

Saracoglu, who officially joined Chery as design director in October, has a degree in transportation design from the Art Centre College of Design in Pasadena, California.

According to the report, Saracoglu said he had never visited China before being approached by Chery.

Chery currently offers the J1, J3 and J11 models in Australia.

  • Jober As A Sudge

    Might be better to get fit, finish and reliability sorted before working on styling

    • K20A

      Absolutely agree. Skodas are far from beautiful, but in my opinion they’re equally desirable in an unpretentious, functional kind of way.

    • Zaccy16

      exactly, specially refinement

    • $29896495

      It’s part of design. The better the design the tighter the tolerances. You’re welcome.

  • Resident

    So instead of looking like an old Rav4 and Matiz, we’ll see hints of the the Panamera and Cayenne? Wicked.

  • Quivive

    Porxche had designers? Who knew!

    • Smart US

      best kept secret – he just have had enough after 15 years of improving door handles by micro-mm… back to real work Hakan, holidays over – maybe we get real deal sports car under $15k from china now

    • Karl Sass

      They keep them locked away in a cage.

  • StevieP

    Even the design of the Chery badge lacks any trace of flair.

  • Noddy_of_Toyland

    They really need to update the styling of the J11, the new RAV4 looks much different. 

    • Zaccy16

      yeah the j11 looks 15 years old

      • Robin_Graves

        As opposed to Skoda and VeeDud – they only look 10 years old and are as reliable as a 20 year old car with 250k on the clock.

  • Luke Brinsmead

    I’d say he was tempered by more design freedom, not just the money.

    • Zaccy16

      yeah probably, he can go nuts at cherry!

  • Hung Low

    At the rate the Chinese are going with poaching the big guns from across the motor industry, it will be within a decade until their cars are highly competitive and accepted in the mainstream market.

    • Robin_Graves

      Maybe VeeDud can poach a Chery driveline engineer to learn how to make something last longer than 50k.

      • Hung Low

        I think they already stole all those blueprints from Suzuki with the little messed up rort they tried to put on them.

    • $29896495

      Next model cycle I’d say, we should see something. Probably less than 3 years. Hope as some one suggested they build an affordable Coupe maybe along the lines of the Caymen or 4 series and poach an engine to stuff in it.

  • Liam Sullivan

    Porsche designer….so all the cars will look pretty much the same? 😛