Former GM design manager Dan Darancou has become Chief Designer at CH-Auto, a major Chinese car design studio that supports numerous domestic car manufacturers as well as international car companies looking to sell vehicles in the burgeoning automotive market.
Darancou, who started his new role on November 1, will be overseeing all design activities as well as facilitating the liaison between the styling and engineering departments so the company can deliver complete ready-for-production vehicles and services. As well as tackling these initiatives, Darancou will also be promoting the organization, furthering the company's goal to become the premier car design studio in China. Based in the company's headquarters in Beijing, Danancou will report to CH-Auto's Vice President of Technology.
A graduate from the Art Center College of Design, Darancou was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and was a member of numerous bicycle motocross teams as a young man – his father was in the bicycle business. His design career began even before he had graduated school: "I built and sold custom racing bicycles which became my passion until I discovered the Art Center and Industrial Design."
Following his graduation from ACCD, Darancou worked for the I.DE.A Design Institute in Turin, Italy, under the direction of Walter de'Silva. He was subsequently recruited by Chuck Jordan – then Vice President of Design for General Motors – to join his team at the GM Tech Center in Michigan.
"I was fortunate to have joined GM as the organization was entering partnerships with Asian car companies to design and build small cars," Darancou told CDN. "I was appointed interior design manager of the Geo brand and spent the next three years living in Japan, working in the studios of Isuzu, Suzuki and Toyota."
The Suzuki Swift, Tracker and Metro interiors where created under his tenure as were the Toyota (Geo) Prizm and Isuzu Storm. Darancou also spent time working at GM's Opel design studio in Germany, where he worked on the interior design of the 1989 Astra and the 2003 Corsa. The designer's more recent projects include the EN-V personal mobility project and the Chevrolet vehicles unveiled at the 2010 SEMA show in Las Vegas.
"I have been privileged to have designed vehicles for all of the original General Motors brands, which sadly have been retired or sold," Darancou said. "As markets and trends shift, it is important for me as a designer to always be where the action is. This new adventure in China will be my most challenging and I feel my most rewarding!"