According to a report by GoAuto, the Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC) has hired Peter Arcadipane to oversee a 130-strong team as its design director. Formerly of Mercedes-Benz, the Australian had a hand in penning the CL, CLS (pictured) and M-Class models.
His new role will see him give rise to a line-up of world-class vehicles with “sophisticated styling and great proportions,” besides generating a recognisable identity and DNA for BAIC’s future products.
“Many people keep pushing this thing that ‘we must do Chinese design’ but what has actually been proven by the customer is that in China, the majority of people that are buying new cars, and especially people that are buying the more expensive cars, are preferring an international look,” Arcadipane told GoAuto.
Among the first of these future products is a RWD medium-large sedan with Daimler underpinnings, reports GoAuto, with crossovers and SUVs also part of the brief.
“The basic plan is to do a lot of products. Any brand that wants to go upmarket and increase volume and profits, you have to more or less go in a lot of the very key segments,” said the Australian.
Arcadipane isn’t new to China – he spent two years in Shenzhen designing an all-new Denza EV (first motor show debutant pictured above, at the 2012 Beijing show), which should turn up at the Guangzhou show in November ahead of an early-2014 launch.
BAIC’s subsidiaries include Beijing Auto, Beijing Automobile Works and Foton. It also builds cars with Hyundai (under the Beijing Hyundai JV) and Daimler (under the Beijing Benz and Beijing Foton Daimler JVs). The Chinese carmaker is preparing to launch an IPO in Hong Kong early next year.
BAIC hired Ferrari Daytona designer Leonardo Fioravanti as a chief design officer in 2012. Other Chinese carmakers that have hired foreign designers in recent times include Chery (Hakan Saracoglu from Porsche), Great Wall Motor (Andreas Deufel from Mercedes-Benz), Geely (Peter Horbury from Volvo) and Brilliance (Dimitri Vicedomini from Pininfarina).