Chinese auto manufacturer changing its image

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Peter Horbury, previously the vice-president of design for Volvo has moved to China with parent company Zhejiang Geely Automobile Holdings, to lead the styling of the Chinese manufacturer’s rapidly expanding Geely range and becoming the senior vice-president of design for the Geely Group.

Geely Holding Group and Volvo Car Corporation chairman Li Shufu said, “I am delighted that Peter Horbury has accepted the offer to lead the design development of the Geely Group brands into the future.

“Original” chrome grille. “Original” chrome grille.

The move will see him oversee the design of all Geely models and sub-brands including Gleagle, Emgrand and Englon (Omygawd) as the Chinese manufacturer embarks on a massive expansion program in its domestic market and pushes further into overseas markets.

Chinese body design has always left a lot to be desired, but adoption of some European design cues can do nothing but good for Geely in the overseas markets.  As far as the Chinese market is concerned, all Horbury will have to do is design bigger chrome grilles.

Mr Horbury joined Volvo as head of design in 1991.  A year later he became responsible for design for all brands in Ford’s Premier Automotive Group, which included Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin, and in 2004 moved to Detroit as executive director of design for Ford, in charge of all North American products.

He was replaced in that role in April 2009 by former Mazda chief designer Moray Callum (from Dumfries in Scotland) when Ford restructured its global design team.

Horbury then returned to Volvo as vice-president of design.  In his time at Volvo, between 1979 and 1986, he worked on interiors for models such as the 480, 440 and 460.  Horbury is also credited with shaping a vast array of Volvo models including the 1995 S40/V40, followed by the S70/V70, S80, S60 and XC70.  Others include the original C70 and its folding hard-top successor, the C30, and the XC90.