Friday, February 6, 2009

Chris Bangle Resigns

Chris Bangle, the head of design for the BMW Group since 1992 and one of the most controversial and well-known designers in the auto industry, resigned his post on Monday, according to the company.

Bangle oversaw the design of numerous breakout and brand changing designs for the BMW brand and BMW as a company including the 2001 and 2009 7 Series, three generations of 3 Series and 5 Series, BMW’s foray into SUVs, including the X5, X3 and X6, as well as the 1 Series, and the comeback of the 6 Series. He also oversaw the design of BMW’s recent re-do of the MINI Cooper, as well as the MINI Clubman, more so than the design of the original 2000 MINI. And he led the design of the Rolls Royce Phantom after BMW acquired the iconic British brand.

Automotive journalists have been harsh on several of Bangle’s designs when they have been introduced. But in just about every case, such as the 2001 7 Series and Z4, criticism tempered after a year or two as it became clear that rivals like Toyota, including its Lexus division and Mercedes, were adopting some of Bangle’s design cues and principals to their cars and SUVs.