Former Rolls-Royce design boss lands at Hongqi

Giles Taylor becomes design chief at Chinese automaker FAW.
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FAW has appointed Giles Taylor, formerly head of design at Rolls-Royce, as its new vice president of design and chief creative officer.

Although the Chinese automaker has a number of in-house brands, including Junpai and Besturn, the company says Taylor will be "chiefly responsible for creating unique design strategies and style concepts" for its flagship Hongqi marque.

In a prepared statement, Taylor said he was enthused about Hongqi's "deeply significant and diverse cultural history", and wanted to help the brand "create fresh, modern vehicles for the new era".

Above: Hongqi H7

"I look forward to working with the FAW executive team to deliver this fascinating mission for Hongqi as well as exciting future products for the FAW," Taylor added.

Taylor's most recent position, held from 2012 until earlier this year, was head of design at Rolls-Royce, where he led the teams which developed the latest Phantom and the Cullinan crossover.

With a degree from the Royal College of Art, he started life in the auto industry at Citroen, where he worked on the exterior design of the Xsara and the first-generation C3. In 1997 he then jumped ship to Jaguar, and was chief designer for the second-generation XK range and the current XJ sedan.

Above: Hongqi L5.

Prior to its economic liberalisation in the 1980s, Hongqi was tasked with producing official state vehicles, suitable for the president, foreign dignitaries and high-ranking officials from the Communist Party.

The brand was revived in 1995 with rebranded Audi and Lincoln models. Several times since then FAW has tried to tried lure party officials away from their beloved Audi cars with more modern-looking vehicles based primarily on underpinnings borrowed from the Toyota Crown.

Established in 1953, FAW claims to be the country's old automaker, and is one of its largest. It has joint venture operations with both Volkswagen and Toyota.