Le Quement, now 70, started his career at Simca in France in 1966 and spent 17 years at Ford in the UK, Germany and the U.S. In 1985, he moved to Germany for two years to establish an advanced design studio at Volkswagen-Audi. In 1987, he returned to France as head of Renault design, a job he held until retiring in 2009.
At Ford, he was associated with two landmark designs, and Lutz had a ringside seat for both. When Lutz was in charge of Ford's European truck operations, le Quement had a vision for a medium-heavy truck that became the Cargo. Unveiled in 1981, it featured smooth styling and a revolutionary new cab.
Lutz said: "Patrick was the inventor of what we now see on medium to heavy trucks everywhere -- that quarter window that goes down the door, all the way down to the bottom, so that the driver can look diagonally down and see the curb for maneuvering. The Cargo truck was the first truck that ever had that."
The truck was a hit all over the world, including in the U.S.
"It influenced medium heavy truck design ... forever," said Lutz. "It was a breakthrough product, and it was a good product. It was voted the European truck of the year."
Soon after, le Quement designed the Ford Sierra, a midsize European family car that debuted in 1982.
"That was a tough task because every other car company in Europe had enough money to create an all-new, east-west, front-wheel-drive platform," Lutz said. "Ford was under some financial strictures at the time and we had to stay with a heavier and less fuel-efficient rear-wheel-drive design.
"We decided to get fuel economy on the freeway through aerodynamics. Patrick conceived the Sierra, which at the time had a record low drag coefficient."
The design was radically aerodynamic, which did not go over well with everyone.
"I loved it," Lutz said, "but many people were shocked, especially the United Kingdom, conservative as usual. People had a hard time warming to it."
In time popular taste caught up with the Sierra.