Haval took the designer from Land Rover and appointed him the author of the premiere at MIAS-2018!August 7, 2018
Briton Phil Simmons, who has answered the last 10 years for the exterior of SUVs and crossovers Land Rover, went to work in Haval. The Chinese did not give time to swing the new design director: at the end of August, the Chinese brand should present the concept car at the Moscow Motor Show, which will be put on the conveyor of the Haval plant in the Tula region in 2019!
While Phil Simmons, who considers himself a perfectionist, pored over the design of Land Rover, Chinese automakers quickly learned style and taste, hiring successful designers from around the world and buying up entire body works. So, the company Great Wall Motor, which owns the brand Haval, has already worked Belgian Pierre Leclerc. It was he who unfolded the corporate style from the Hover towards the H6 Coupe. Then came the second generation of H6 and the top of Leclerc’s Chinese art – a line of luxury Wey crossovers, named after Great Wall founder Wei Jianjun. Leclerc’s work impressed the Chinese so much that they themselves became the object of emulation from competitors, for example, Yema. However, last fall, Leclerc went to work in Kia, and the Haval brand, in order to preserve and consolidate leadership, required a new design director – they became Phil Simmons.
The choice, frankly speaking, is brilliant: Land Rover SUVs today have everything for which well-off Chinese motorists are ready to pay any money – clearly visualized aristocratism, breed and luxury. Simmons oversaw the development of current Range Rovers, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Velar, Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover Discovery and Land Rover Discovery Sport models. Velar crossover was obviously its highest achievement, the wow effect of which is difficult to overestimate-glossy magazines sing to him praises, and in the spring Velar even won the World Car Awards in the nomination “Best automobile design of the year”.
Phil Simmons studied transport design at the University of Coventry and began his career at Land Rover, when it still belonged to BMW. He participated in the development of the exterior of the Range Rover SUV of the third generation. Simmons also put his hand to the interior of the first-generation hatchback Mini (meaning the first one after the Mini entered the BMW Group). Then, when the Land Rover passed under the wing of the Ford concern, Simmons worked on the sopphonic sedans Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Lincoln MKZ, and also on the hatchback Ford Fiesta of the sixth generation. At the end of 2007, Simmons returned to Land Rover, and since then he worked there under the supervision of chief designer Jerry McGovern.
The new appointment for Simmons is certainly an increase and a challenge: it is necessary to resist the temptation to give the Chinese cars the features of the Land Rovers, as many consumers will wait for it! Mark Landwind, for example, shamelessly copied the design of the crossover Range Rover Evoque, and Changan – SUV Discovery, and none of them punished for it, although JLR lawyers undertook no attack. Officially, Haval, however, will seek with Simmons’ own face, which should become attractive outside of China. The Chinese brand already has strong positions in Australia, Africa and South America, but this is all, so to speak, the periphery of the world car industry, which can not satisfy the export ambitions of Haval managers – they really want to gain a foothold in the US and Europe, and for this the design must be perfectly flawless and stunning.