Chery Hired Porsche Designer for Design Center in Shanghai image

Chery Automobile recently hired Porsche Designer Hakan Saracoglu to oversee its design center located in Shanghai, part of its plan to improve its styling.

Hakan Saracoglu, 47, will be Chery’s new design director beginning with October, according to the company’s officials. He has worked at Porsche for 15 years, helping with the exterior design for models such as the Boxter, the Cayman and the 918 Spyder. Chery is one of many Chinese automakers which chose to hire foreign designers in order to increase their brand image and cut the loss in market share to foreign automakers such as GM and VW.

According to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co these hiring are also part of a broader international talent hunt, as salaries for foreign auto engineers in China can reach three times those in the US. Among other Chinese companies which hired abroad help with styling is Beijing Automotive Group, which named Ferrari Daytona designer Leonardo Fioravanti as chief design officer in 2012.

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

In 2011, Great Wall Motor hired former Mercedes-Benz designer Andreas Deufel as design director and former Volvo Car chief designer Peter Horbury was named Geely Holding’s senior vice president in charge of design.