Gert Hildebrand, former General Manager of Mini Design, was appointed Head of Design at Qoros Auto in January this year. In his new role, Hildebrand is responsible for overseeing a regeneration of the existing design and styling processes at the joint venture company, a collaboration between Qoros and Israel Corporation, which was founded in 2007.
One of many high level designers making the transition to China, Hildebrand is is currently tasked with leading the creation of the new Qoros brand, which was unveiled at a presentation in Shanghai last week.
"The goal is to create a Chinese premium brand for mainland China and Europe with elegant appeal, European technical standards and German design," Hildebrand says.
Having taken over the a project begun by Italdesign Giugario prior to its sale to the Volkswagen Group, Hildebrand is tasked with transforming the brand into a premium product by 2013 as well as further developing the design of the company's products through engineering, packaging and marketing.
Besides growing the design team at the joint-venture's Shanghai headquarters, Hildebrand is also responsible for creating a global modelling/styling network through a cooperation with Magna Steyr, the new brand's chosen supplier and main development partner.
A graduate of the Royal College of Art, Hildebrand began his career with Adam Opel AG in Russelsheim, Germany, where he worked on the 1983 IAA show car, the Kadett E. He later took a position as Head of Concept Design Division at Volkswagen, overseeing the development of the Golf III and Golf II Country models.
Following a stint at Tier 1 supplier 3M, Hildebrand returned to the Volkswagen Group as Head of Design at the Seat Centro Tecnico in Martorel, Spain, in 1995. While there he defined the new corporate face of the brand, which saw the introduction of the Leon and Toledo models. In addition to his role at Seat, Hildebrand also held the role of Alternate Head of Exterior Design at Volkswagen AG from 1994-1998, where he brought the Golf IV and Bora to market.
After his time at Volkswagen Group, Hildebrand was appointed Chief Designer at Mitsubishi Design Europe, a role that saw him define a new form language for the Japanese automaker following a retrospective design research program.
Hildebrand's most recent and famous tenure was at BMW Group. As General Manager of Mini Design – a position he held for ten years – he oversaw the development of the Mini brand over three model generations. In addition to guiding the Mini into the global sales phenomena that it is, he also expanded the range to take in such cars as the Countryman and Clubman models, as well as the recently introduced Mini Coupe.