Bob Hall, father of the Mazda MX-5 and a former Wheels journalist, is to play a key role in establishing a US design operation for Chinese car maker Geely.
Hall, who starts at Geely on September 15 in a senior product planning role, is set to establish an American ‘listening post’, initially based at Volvo’s Camarillo Design Centre in California. This week Volvo, now owned by Geely, reveals its first new model – the second generation XC90 – since the Chinese takeover in 2010.
Peter Horbury, the Brit who heads Geely Design after a stellar career at Volvo and Ford, says, “I’m not sure of Bob’s title yet, possibly ‘Head of Brainstorming’. Whatever it is, we will be tapping into his extreme knowledge and creativity in all things automotive. I am really looking forward to working with him.”
Long term, Geely wants to expand the US-operation to a fully-fledged design and R&D facility aimed at creating cars to suite Western taste.
“I still have another game-changer (up here),” Bob Hall, pointing to his head, told Wheels recently. “It’s a potential segment buster and, like the Miata (MX-5), is a common-sense vehicle, and maybe that’s the point. Unlike the Miata, it’s in a real segment too, with global volumes well in excess of six million cars. I reckon it could take 300,000 sales a year”.
“I just want to do it, I don’t want to be a one-trick pony,” says Hall, a card carrying car nut who, even at 60, still has much to offer a brave car maker. “I wanna get back and do some disruptive, kick-ass cars”.