Mike Stevens | Dec 23, 2011

The man responsible for the look of the first BMW 1 Series has moved to Hyundai, where he will take on the role of Chief Designer at the company's Californian studio.

From humble beginnings with Isuzu, where he designed the 1993 XU-1 concept, Christopher Chapman moved to BMW in 1994 and worked on the exterior design of the X Coupe concept and the first X5 SUV.

In 2002, he designed the BMW CS1 concept, which debuted at that year's Geneva Motor Show and paved the way for the debut of the first-generation 1 Series.

Under the guidance of former BMW chief designer Chris Bangle, Chapman also worked on the look of the X3 SUV and the first Z4 roadster.

"With over 22 years of experience in the industry working on esteemed automotive brands, Chris provides a level of talent that will help further our design portfolio," SukGeun Oh, Senior Executive Vice President at the Hyundai Design Center, said.

"We are thrilled to have Christopher Chapman as chief designer for Hyundai and look forward to continuing the strong momentum of our vehicle designs."

Chapman's appointment comes at a time when Hyundai is making significant headway in both quality and design, with the i45 sedan, i40 Tourer and Genesis Coupe the most recent standout launches.

His arrival at Hyundai follows the departure of Phillip Zak, recruited from GM in 2009 before returning to the General earlier this year.

Hyundai's move to land a high-profile designer follows the appointment of former Audi designer Peter Schreyer to the top design seat at Kia - a move that has seen Kia garner wide praise for the styling of its new line-up.

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