TMR Team | Feb 27, 2013

Chinese carmaker Chery has added a new card to its hand with the appointment of former Porsche designer Hakan Saracoglu.

Tapped to head up a new design studio in Shanghai, Saracoglu comes to Chery after a 15 year stint at Porsche's Germany headquarters.

The Turkish-born 47 year-old Saracolgu lists contributions to the new 918 Spyder, Cayman and Boxster models to his credit. A graduate of the Art Centre College of Design in California, Saracoglu has also worked for Ford.

The next step in the designer's career will see him help Chery in its push to take on stylish new entries from compatriots Qoros (which it co-owns with Israel Corp) and Geely.

“The company is redefining itself. Chery’s standing for value, for design and gaining customer confidence. That’s where we want to go,” Saracoglu said.

A team of 30 designers will work under Saracoglu in Shanghai, developing new concepts and production models for the carmaker.

Chery's design coup follows a string of Asian carmakers snapping up foreign talent, with former Audi designer already turning Korean carmaker Kia's fortunes around.

Former General Motors Europe executive Carl-Peter Forster has also moved to an Asian marque, joining Geely earlier this year.

“Having somebody with a known profile gives you more credibility,” Bill Russo, Beijing-based president of auto consultancy Synergistics Ltd, told business paper Bloomberg. “But it’s going to take a long time to really embed those capabilities.”

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