SAIC Motor has announced the appointment of Martin Uhlarik as its new UK Design Director amidst plans to significantly expand its European Design Center at Longbridge, UK.
Canadian-born Uhlarik has been appointed by Tony Williams-Kenny, who takes over as Global Design Director at SAIC's Shanghai design base. Uhlarik comes in with experience as Senior Interior Designer for Skoda's Prague studio, Project Design Leader for Nissan Design Europe in London.
David Lindley, Managing Director of SAIC Motor UK, said: "With many years of automotive design experience behind him, and a wealth of fresh design ideas, Martin Uhlarik is the right man to lead the expansion of our studio and renewed focus on great design with international appeal."
During his career he has worked on the interiors of all first-generation Skoda products to the 2003 Nissan Evalia concept, as well as the 2007 Nissan NV200 concept and 2010 upgrade of the Nissan Qashqai. He will be heading up a growing team of UK-based designers focused mainly on MG vehicles as well as acting as a consultant to SAIC Group's China-only brand, Roewe.
The European Design Center is set to double in size to over 2000 square feet, allowing designers to work on up to five new models at the same time, following an investment of £1.5m ($2.4m) and will also provide the teams with new software and equipment. The automaker's Shanghai studio is also under significant development at the moment as part of SAIC's global design development strategy.