Former Volvo Car Corp. styling chief Peter Horbury is going to help develop China's future car designers as part of his new job as Geely Group's senior vice president of design.
Horbury will help establish a creative and design center at Hainan University Sanya College, in Sanya, southern China, a Geely Group spokesman said in an e-mail reply to questions. The independent college with a 20,000-student population is sponsored by Geely Group Chairman Li Shufu, who is also chairman at Geely's sister brand Volvo.
"He will do car designs there and help train students," the spokesman said in the e-mail. "The center will also help train and cultivate car design talents in China as we need high-level design talents for further growth of car industry in China."
The spokesman was not sure when Horbury would start his new position: "He will visit the school to find out the efforts needed to set up this center before he decides the exact on-board time."
A decision on who will succeed Horbury as Volvo head of design has not been made, said a Volvo spokesman. He added that the design departments at the two automakers are run independently.
Horbury, 61, is credited with moving Volvo away from its boxy roots to the leaner, sleeker models found in the automaker's current lineup. He began his career with the Swedish automaker in 1991 as head of design, helping to create new models including the XC90 crossover before he moved in 2002 to Ford's Premier Automotive Group. There, the British national oversaw design at all four PAG brands: Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo.
Two years later, Horbury moved to Detroit to become executive director of design at Ford, before returning to Volvo in 2009 to assume the role of vice president design. In 2010, China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group bought Volvo from Ford for about $1.5 billion. Ford sold all four brands that made up the PAG group between 2007 and 2010.