Women such as Martina Starke at BMW and Agneta Dahlgren at Renault are shaping the designs of today's vehicles, but they are the exception. The field remains male dominated, they say.
This isn't because women are being discouraged from entering the profession. Siobhan Hughes, chief designer color and materials at Jaguar, says it is because few women are aware that a career in car design is available to them.
Hughes believes the industry should do more to promote itself to women. "When I talk to students they are surprised by the opportunities available," she told Automotive News Europe. "My niece is studying transport design and is the only girl among 100 students. Because of my job she is aware. Most young women are not."
Things, however, are changing. A quarter of Volvo's 160-person design team is female. This group includes three of the Swedish automaker's top stylists: Ebba-Maria Thunberg, vice president, color and material design; Christine Lindberg, design director, interaction; and Tisha Johnson, senior director, design and head of Volvo's California studio.