Following in the footsteps of cross-country rival Beijing Automotive Group Co., China's Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation has announced the appointment of a new design head from a major global automaker. Beijing Auto hired ex-Ferrari designer Leonardo Fioravanti earlier this year.
SAIC announced on Monday that it has hired former Nissan designer Martin Uhlarik to head up its European design office. Uhlarik, 41, will also give design input to SAIC's China-only Roewe brand.
Uhlarik is replacing Tony Williams-Kenny, who left to become global design director for SAIC.
During his time at Nissan Uhlarik penned the redesigned 2010 Qashqai utility vehicle and the concept version of the NV200. Uhlarik was also responsible for the 2003 Evalia concept.
In his new position Uhlarik will mainly focus on SAIC's MG brand. Now sold in 35 countries, SAIC plans to launch the MG brand in mainland Europe by the end of 2013, according to Automotive News.
"Expanding our design studio will enable us to work on greater numbers of projects at the same time and improve our design capabilities across SAIC Group models destined for European and Chinese markets," said David Lindley, managing director of SAIC Motor UK, in a statement.
Uhlarik's first two products will likely be a Qashqai-rivaling SUV and a new sports car for the MG division.