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Ford Australia names new design chief

New life Down Under: Ford hopes that Svensson's European experience will pay dividends at Broadmeadows.

Svensson steps in as Ford’s regional design chief as Strong returns to Detroit

16 Aug 2010

FORD Australia has announced the appointment of Chris Svensson as its new director of design for the Asia Pacific and Africa region, which includes Australia.

Replacing Scott Strong, who has returned to the US to become interior design director for North America, Mr Svensson is based at the regional product development centre at Ford Australia headquarters in Broadmeadows, north of Melbourne.

In addition to influencing the design of Australian-built vehicles, Mr Svensson will oversee programs throughout the region, such as an expected all-new SUV and other models based on the Australian-developed T6 Ranger light commercial platform.

His previous role as designer of commercial vehicles for Ford of Europe will come into play in his new assignment, although Ford Australia spokesperson Sinead McAlary told GoAuto this week that his broad experience – which has involved a host of European passenger cars – would be used to good effect across a range of new vehicle programs.

 center imageLeft: Ford interior design director for North America Scott Strong. Below: Volkswagen AG far-east general manager for sales Immo Buschmann.

“Chris’ most recent role was in a commercial vehicle area, but he has spent a lot of time working on passenger cars as well,” Ms McAlary said.

“He’s the right person for the job because they’re developing a number of different vehicles across the region.”

Reporting to Ford of Europe executive design director Martin Smith, Mr Svensson has worked in Europe, the UK and North America since joining Ford in 1992.

As well as European commercial vehicle design chief – a role which included global programs and both interior and exterior design – he was also head of Ford’s Dunton design studio in the UK.

From 2001 to 2007 he was chief designer for pre-programs in Europe, developing a ‘design strategy group’ responsible for concept and pre-program execution for a range of vehicles, including the third-generation Focus, second-generation C-Max and Ka, sixth-generation Fiesta and concept cars such as the Visos.

He has also had a hand in the Mercury MC2 and Ford P2000 Hydrogen concepts, plus the first-generation Focus, Mondeo, Ka, Puma and Cougar.

Ms McAlary said Mr Strong’s return to Detroit after four years in his second stint at Ford Australia – he came back to the role in March 2006, replacing Simon Butterworth, after earlier working Down Under from 1999-2001 – was part of the “usual movements within the design community”.

Meanwhile, Audi Australia’s marketing manager Immo Buschmann has returned to Germany to become general manager of sales for parent Volkswagen AG’s far-east region, which includes Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.

A replacement for him is still to be announced, with marketing communications manager Belinda Harris holding the fort as marketing chief for the time being.

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