Ex-Mazda man Yamada signs for Chang An

05 June 2018 | by Chris Maillard

Chang An Global Design Chief Chen Zheng has just announced that he’s hired  Atsuhiko Yamada full-time to head up design on Chang An’s V-brand passenger cars.

Yamada has some serious pedigree, having  run the Advanced Design Studios at Isuzu where he was involved with concepts including the Kai and the Zen, and production cars including the Isuzu/Opel Frontera and Monterey. He then moved to Mazda’s Advanced Design facility where he was heavily involved with the ‘Flow’ design language (here’s more - on that: Part 1, Part 2), and particularly the Taiki and the  Senku concepts and production models including the CX-9, Mazda 2, 3 and 6.

Mazda Senku 2005 09

The 2005 Mazda Senku concept

Yamada will be mainly based at the Chang An Automobiles Design Centre in Chongqing (China) but will be travelling extensively between China, Japan and Europe and will be responsible for all passenger car projects in China, Italy and Japan.

Reporting directly to Chen Zheng, Yamada will apparently be in charge of “establishing and developing the design trends and identity of the brand; defining the brand strategy and product planning in collaboration with Chang An Management and Marketing Department and monitoring all mass manufacture projects and advanced design projects.”

“Yamada-san worked with us in the recent years as a consultant,” said Chen Zheng, “and I am particularly proud to have such a valued member of the design community appreciate our work and willing to join us. I welcome him as a permanent member of our management with true joy. His role will also require to work in close contact with me and with the board on the strengthening of Chang An design culture.”


Yamada’s boss Chen Zheng, with two concept models