BMW Design Boss Karim Habib Quits: Could He End Up In South Korea?


Imagine if Hyundai stole BMW M's boss and its old head of design.

German outlet Auto Motor und Sport is reporting that BMW head designer Karim Habib has left the company. Habib has been the head designer at the German automaker since 2012. He previously packed his bags and left Munich back in 2008 when he joined Mercedes for two years. Aside from the short stint in Stuttgart Habib had been with BMW since 1998. It’s not clear what the designer's next move will be. Maybe he will follow fellow BMW defector Albert Biermann and go work for Hyundai?

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If the South Koreans did score Habib that would be a major coup. Aside from the horrendously ugly Gran Turismo models BMW has mostly turned out exceptionally styled cars over the last five odd years. Yeah, many of its cars have gotten bloated but that’s more than likely at the request of the bean counters and product planners. BMW hasn’t commented on Habib’s departure. The automaker can’t be happy, especially with the next-gen 3 Series still in the pipes. It’s likely the design for that has been finalized, though. It is hard to imagine Habib just up and walking away from a project like that. It’ll be interesting to see where BMW's ex-head of design lands next. History suggests a German automaker.

Of course that’s not where Peter Shcreyer and the aforementioned Albert Biermann landed after they left the Volkswagen Group and BMW, respectively. Still, the odds of Habib heading to South Korea aren't all that good. For starters, he wouldn't be able to cal the shots. That's Schreyer's job. Also, there's some belt-tightening going on in South Korea. Hyundai is trying to save cash and one of its strategies is to eliminate executive perks. Hiring a big-time designer and paying him a dump truck full of cash isn't the smartest austerity measure. Then again, good talent is hard to come by so maybe Hyundai would be willing to spend some cash to continue the German-ing up of its top-tier staff.