Breaking: Chris Bangle leaving BMW!!

News | February 3rd, 2009 by 16
chris bangle quits bmw 0203 Breaking: Chris Bangle leaving BMW!!

Breaking news this morning. Many online publications and some of our sources are reporting that BMW’s Chief of Design, Chris Bangle will leave BMW. A …

chris bangle quits bmw 0203 498x252 Breaking: Chris Bangle leaving BMW!!

Breaking news this morning. Many online publications and some of our sources are reporting that BMW’s Chief of Design, Chris Bangle will leave BMW. A controversial designer, Bangle has been behind many of the recent BMW vehicles and it influenced the design path chosen by BMW.

In a statement issued earlier, Mr. Bangle said that is leaving BMW to “pursue his own design-related endeavors beyond the auto industry”. We have already seen him being involved with teaching at the prestigious Harvard University. It is being said that Bangle will continue to cooperate with BMW.

The rumor going around is that some talented BMW designers will follow him at his new design studio.

Adrian van Hooydonk is the new BMW Head of Design, a move expected by many people.

We will be back shortly with more updates.

Thanks for the heads-up Brookside!

Chris Bangle talking about the BMW X6 Design


Adrian Von Hooydonk on the new 7 Series


Press Release
Christopher E. Bangle, the BMW Group’s Head of Design, has worked closely with Adrian van Hooydonk in BMW Group design development for nearly17 years. Now he is handing over his post to van Hooydonk, who is currently Head of BMW Automobile Design. “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, and together with his teams he has mapped out a clear and aesthetic route into the future,” said Dr Klaus Draeger, BMW AG’s Board Member for Development.

Dr Draeger went on to explain that the BMW Group was currently “in an excellent position”, thanks to a broad portfolio of automobiles and several new vehicle concepts due for market launch in the coming months and years. The BMW AG Management Board, he added, is looking forward to working with van Hooydonk as Head of BMW Group Design – a man who shares Bangle’s fascination for technology and aesthetics, tradition and innovation. Dr Draeger affirmed that van Hooydonk would be in a position to continue to build on a design philosophy, which extends across the BMW Group’s brands. Bangle’s plan to pursue his own design-related endeavours beyond the auto industry marks the start of a new phase in his life while maintaining strong ties with the BMW Group.

Over the years numerous designs for new vehicles and vehicle concepts have been developed under Christopher Bangle’s leadership. As well as continuing the BMW 3, 5 and 7 Series, he and his teams were responsible for a range of other models, including the BMW Z3, BMW Z4, BMW X5, BMW Z8, BMW X3, the new BMW 6 Series, the BMW X6 and the BMW 1 Series. Other developments under the auspices of Christopher Bangle include the new MINI and Rolls-Royce models and a number of innovative motorcycle concepts. During his tenure, Christopher Bangle was also instrumental in making the company’s consultancy subsidiary, BMW Group DesignworksUSA, what it is today: a global design agency in North America, Munich and Singapore for leading international brands and companies in a wide variety of industries.

Thanks to their outstanding design quality numerous products from all three of the BMW Group’s automobile brands have won a host of renowned awards from around the world. Bangle has always had a special aptitude for working with his teams to strengthen the identities and unmistakable images of the BMW Group’s brands and to inspire design innovations, said Dr Draeger, Board Member for Development. Over the years he has received a dozen patents for his technical applications and design. These, along with the one hundred additional patents awarded to the BMW Group Design under Bangle’s auspices, are a testimony to his creative and innovative power.

Born in the USA, Christopher Bangle, aged 52, has been Head of BMW Group Design Development since October 1992. After studying at the University of Wisconsin and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, he began his working life in Rüsselsheim, where he worked for Adam Opel AG. In 1985 he joined FIAT, where he became Director of the FIAT Centro Stile in 1992. Shortly afterwards he left the Italian automaker to come to Munich.

Throughout his career with the BMW Group Bangle’s right-hand man has been Adrian van Hooydonk, who is now set to become his successor. He described van Hooydonk as “truly a top professional in our business,” adding, “I am sure that the many strong design strategies he has helped us create for the BMW Group will continue to develop and evolve.”

Adrian van Hooydonk, aged 44, will take over as Director of BMW Group Design with immediate effect. In his new position he will be responsible for design development for the BMW, Rolls-Royce and MINI brands. Born in the Netherlands, van Hooydonk studied at Delft Polytechnic University in Holland and later at the Art Center Europe in Vevey, Switzerland, until 1992. From there he came to Munich, where he joined BMW as a designer. In the year 2000 he went to California to work for the BMW Group subsidiary Designworks USA. He was Director of the internationally renowned design agency from 2001 to 2004. Then, under Bangle as the BMW Group’s Head of Design, he became Head of the Brand Design Studio for BMW Automobiles.

The BMW 6 Series and 7 Series lines clearly bear the hallmark of van Hooydonk’s design influence, as do the Z9 Concept Car, the BMW Concept CS (unveiled in 2007) and the M1 Hommage Study. In 1997 van Hooydonk created the ACV 30 Show Car for MINI and more recently he and his team have developed the designs for the new BMW 7 Series and Z4 as well as for the Concept Progressive Activity Sedan, which celebrates its premiere at the Geneva Auto Show in early March 2009.

“I am honoured and extremely excited to take on this new responsibility”, says van Hooydonk. “BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce produce the best cars and motorcycles in their segment, and I am really looking forward to being able to contribute to the future development of these brands.” Speaking of his hopes for the years to come, van Hooydonk added: “I have no doubt that there are challenges ahead, but BMW’s depth in engineering and the passion of its talented design team are as strong as ever. Together I am sure we will be able to create some very sophisticated and extremely attractive concepts.”

16 responses to “Breaking: Chris Bangle leaving BMW!!”

  1. I can’t decide how I feel about this. He’s had some highs and lows at BMW and it worries me that there will be an inconsistent design trend from one generation of BMW’s to the next.

    That said, I can’t say this surprises me, Bangle comes across as a very eccentric guy – kind of a nerd on red bull.

  2. Brookside says:

    Awful news.

  3. The Lee says:

    @Andrew Murphy:

    I can’t say I’ll miss him a lot, but I am a little nervous about the future. I wasn’t a HUGE Bangle fan, but his stuff has grown on me a little.

  4. Artmic says:

    I won’t miss the guy. :) the 7 Series when it came out looked like a tank.
    The 5 series still looks like the doors to the car were lego blocks put in place, with big spaces between the door and the frame.

  5. Hooydonk as the new design chief definitely isn’t bad news. He’s come up with some of the latest, most attractive designs for BMW.

  6. Giom says:

    I’m sad to see him go… by now he’s like part of the furnature there.

    I’m also nervous about what will happen next, but then again, BMW has always done the right thing -I mean, it’s not like Bangle is BMW like Bono is U2 or Mick is Simply Red.

    No! if anything, we should be excited about the future!

  7. Tom Hegedosh says:

    I’m ok with Adrian taking over

  8. bunker says:

    This isn’t so earth-shattering to me. BMW has pushed Von Hooydonk out in front – at least publicly – of late, so you could sort of smell this coming. If we assume that the new 7 and the new Z4 were more in the Von Hooydonk direction (and this is, admittedly, a guess), things are looking up. Look, Bangle has been the bane of the BMW enthusiast’s existence for years now, despite the fact that, in hindsight, many of his design signatures have been aped by other car companies. I can tell you that when I was poking around an Audi dealership 8 months ago, the first thing the salesman brought up as a knock on BMW was Bangle and how the cars looked compared to Audi’s more traditional, teutonic design. Maybe there was some external pressure for this. At least now that’s ammunition Audi won’t have in their sales pitch.

  9. Horatiu B. says:

    I wouldn’t really bash Bangle, I think he was and still is a great designer. And, many of you might not know, but Hooydonk played an important role in almost all of the recent BMW designs, despite people’s assumptions that Bangle designed them.

  10. Enzo says:

    Bangle was not only good for BMW to move their designs to the next level but his designs, or at least the designs under his watch, have led the whole industry. So many BMW styling cues have been copied here and there by others. I’m sad to see him go but as others have said, I’m excited for the future. New and fresh ideas are always welcome. I know Hooydonk has played a pivotal role in recent designs but maybe even he will have fresh ideas with this added freedom.

  11. Ale says:

    I can´t belive it! I am a trully BMW fan, and for me this is very sad news.

    He took BMW design to another level. People now have very strong opinions about design (BMW haters always screaming,. and more people buying BMWs than ever before)

    We know now the names of many designers and how they work at BMW. They explains us the concept, and everything about the process of making the most amazing cars.

    He will be remember as the most influential designer of our era.

    Thanks you Mr. Bangle!!!!

    ps (sorry for my english!)

  12. Taswin says:

    The great opinion divider. But I was never a fan of Bangle. In his era BMW lost its distinctive european characteristics and went too adventurous for a name the size of BMW. For the first BMW lost proportionality in its designs and you start seeing the americanization of BMW cars. I completely lost interest in BMW since he took over until couple months ago when I started noticing facelifted BMWs on the street and magazines. Strange enough my reaction was BMW seems to be back on its root and I began to suspect that maybe Bangle no longer has anything to do with these makeovers. I jumped on the internet immediately to confirm my suspicion. The news pleases me. All the best, Chris and Welcome back, BMW.

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