There are not too many car designers that are known worldwide, Aston Martin and Jaguar shared Ian Callum, Lamborghini has Wolfgang Egger and Ferrari had Frank Stephenson. However perhaps the best known car designer of recent times has been BMW’ Chris Bangle. The man who invented the ‘Bangle Butt’.
However his time at BMW is now over, with Mr Bangle having left “to pursue his own design-related endeavours beyond the auto industry“, a spokesman at BMW said today.
For the time being Adrian van Hooydonk, current head of design for BMW, will take over Mr Bangle’s position.
“Christopher Bangle has had a lasting impact on the identity of BMW Group’s brands. His contribution to the company’s success has been decisive,” said Klaus Draeger, BMW’s development chief, in a statement.
Mr Bangle, 52, is an America-born car designer who joined BMW in 1992 and began a revolution to bring BMW’s designs into the modern age.
Although many (including Car Advice) have criticised Mr Bangle’s distinctive themes, his styling has proved a commercial success for BMW. Mr Bangle in part led to BMW overtaking rival Mercedes-Benz as the global No. 1 premium brand by unit sales in 2006.
Despite leaving the company, the Bangle design philosophy will still be in the works for some time yet as already signed-off future models will still be built.
Chris Bangle first started his automotive design career at General Motor’s German subsidiary Opel. He later joined Fiat in 1985 where he successfully became head of Fiat’s styling centre before leaving for BMW.
His portfolio includes the current BMW 3-, 5- and 7-Series plus the Z3, X5 and X3. Mr Bangle was also influential in projects for BMW Group’s Mini and Rolls-Royce vehicles.