By on January 20, 2017

2016 BMW 7 Series

BMW Head of Design Karim Habib is reportedly leaving the German automaker for the second time in roughly a decade, making him the third major departure from the group’s styling division in the last ten months.

Official confirmation from BMW is pending, but information from Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport suggests that Habib may have already made his exit. This widens an already gaping hole in the group’s creative landscape. The company has yet to replace Anders Warming, the design boss for Mini, and Benoit Jacob, who styled BMW’s i-division. Both men departed the company in 2016, lured away by Chinese-financed companies.

This leaves BMW Group’s design chief, Adrian van Hooydonk, without a creative frontman for every brand but Rolls-Royce. 

Habib joined BMW in 1998 but left for Mercedes-Benz from 2008 to 2010 — just long enough to design the F800 concept car. Since 2012, Karim Habib has been responsible for the interior and exterior direction of the brand, working off the design language developed by former design head Chris Bangle while undoing some of his more controversial styling cues.

Karim Habib studied engineering at Canada’s McGill University before moving on to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He joined BMW as an interior designer immediately afterward.

[Image: BMW Group]

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18 Comments on “BMW’s Head of Design Rumored to Resign for a Second Time...”

  • avatar

    It’s almost like everyone who wields a pen for BMW hates their current styling direction.

    • 0 avatar

      Or perhaps they were getting tired of not being allowed to anything resembling a departure from the corporate look.

    • 0 avatar

      BMW designs have been lost for some time now.

      Once they were known for their clean, aggressive looking designs/front ends, but now their front fascias are a mess (aside from the i8), altho the latest models are an improvement over their predecessor (7 Series, 5 Series), but still not good enough.

      The poster child for heinous front fascia design is the previous iteration of the 1 Series hatch (with its “Angry Birds” face).

  • avatar

    It is time for a major improvement in BMW styling: slab nose and reverse opening hood for small cars (E30) and a shark nose for bigger cars (E24/E28).

    Also, the cars are a gadgetry nightmare that distracts from the driving experience. My father’s F80 M3 has way too much junk to set.

    – username checks out

  • avatar

    Make Bangle Great Again!

  • avatar

    Maybe he’s sick of working on crossovers.

  • avatar

    They need a new styling direction.

  • avatar

    Must say that the current generation 5 series is a good looking big car, much nicer than the Bangle era effort with the Dame Edna headlights.
    Though the GT model is too tall and the proportions are all wrong, it’s like they tried to copy an Audi A5/7 and upscaled the height by 120%.

    And the new 7 is another huge improvement, though the F01 before that was better looking than the shockingly ugly E65 – a car which was no worthy successor to the elegant E38.

    Their biggest seller, the 3 series, looked great in E90 form, but the F30 just seemed to get the ugly stick of EU pedestrian bonnet regulations, looking like it had a huge Neanderthal bump above the headlights.

  • avatar

    “Adrian van Hooydonk”

    I just found a new pseudonym.

  • avatar

    It’s not the styling that’s lacking, it’s the engineering.

  • avatar

    I think Bangle did much better than people gave him credit for. I think the E90, E65, E60, and E85, while maybe not the best looking BMWs ever, were better designs than their successors. (The E85 was fairly awkward, though, compared to the Z3.) Trying to “undo the Bangle damage” may have caused more problems than it fixed.

  • avatar

    so no more bangle-butt, but this guy invented the tear ducts. and yeah, jacob made the i-cars a lot more “interesting” than they should have been.

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