Designer Simon Padian who was with Saab Automobile from 1998 to 2012 has moved to Geely Design in Göteborg/Gothenburg where he will be the Interior Design Director. At the same time Simon Lamarre takes the helm at Geely as the Exterior Design Director. Lamarre has according to his LinkedIn account been with Saab Automobile as well. My sources in the automobile design world where hoping that NEVS would hire Simon Padian but since he is now with Geely that is not possible. But there are some other guys near Trollhättan who are more then qualified to run the future design department at NEVS.
My personal short-list of names to run the NEVS/SAAB design department would be: (in no ranking order)
– Eduard Gray at GrayDesign in Vargön who has proven his talent to design not only cars but super-yachts and motorcycles. Now also with LeanNova as a consultant. We have seen some of Eduards stunning 9-5 generation III designs here at SaabsUnited last year.
– Victor Holmquist at Volvo Construction Equipment is a hard core gear-head with the right mindset and radical ideas on car design. I have seen the designs he sent to Saab when he applied for a job some years ago. His design of an upgraded 9-3 and fighterjet inspired racer Sonett where mindblowing. Victor had his AlfaRomeo GTV “Modifcatizione” in my carage in Stockholm for some years before moving to Göteborg. That car has so much carbonfiber stuff made by Viktor.
– Ola Granlund, he runs his own design studio in Göteborg. Long time with Saab and according to ex. design chief at Saab Björn Envall, one of the most talented “young” designers he has seen at Saab. His name Granlund is of the Saab family in Trollhättan, his dad Olle was product manager. I met Ola in the military way back in the 1985.
Design is I would say and stick out my chin, is the most important asset for a smaller or boutique car manufacturer. Design must take the lead in front of the mechanical engineering (sorry boys and girls in that engineering field). The competition is so hard today so why not make a design that stands out. Give You a fresh exampel. Mercedes is about to launch new vehicles with “older” design chassis components. The mechanical engineers grinds their teeth, but carry on the new order. Most cars are good on the road and the average buyer does not crawl around on the showroom marbelfloor to inspect if the car has a 3-4-5-6 link rear axle. But the design of the car body, lines and curves is crucial. And just not to mention how the buyers are greeted and taken care of by the sales staff, but that is another write-up here at SU.