Land Rover exterior studio director Phil Simmons has been appointed as the new Design Director and VP of Haval, the leading brand of China’s Great Wall. He will be leading the design studio in Baoding, where the brand HQ is located, as well as the group’s advanced design studio in Shanghai. Haval are focused strongly on SUVs, which will make his Land Rover and Range Rover experience invaluable.
Englishman Simmons has been working in automotive design for at least 30 years (here’s our 2007 story about him joining Land Rover). He last served as Studio Director for Land Rover Exterior Design where he oversaw the design of the 2018 Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, 2017 Range Rover Velar and 2016 Range Rover Evoque, Discovery and Discovery Sport. He also led the design team that developed the interior and exterior of the 2014 Range Rover Sport and the 2013 Range Rover.
He started his career at Land Rover, then moved to Ford, both in the USA and later as Chief Designer of Ford in Europe, and was responsible for cars such as the 2009 Ford Fiesta, 2005 Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ.
His move is yet another signal that Chinese car companies are taking design increasingly seriously; Simmons is just the latest of a series of big-name hires such as David Hilton, Steve Eum, Colin Phipps and many more.