The 72-year-old chose not to retire, but take on more responsibility.
Peter Horbury is one of the most respected automotive designers today. At age 72, you'd think it'd be about time to wrap up a long career that began at Chrysler and later saw him move to Volvo, then Ford, and back to Volvo when it was purchased by Geely. The stunning results of today's Volvo lineup, such as XC40 Recharge, are all thanks to him. So you'd think now would be an appropriate time to retire. Only he's not.
Autocar has confirmed that Horbury will be leaving his position as design head for Geely Auto to become vice president of design for Lotus, another Geely-owned brand.
His new role will be to oversee the design of the new Lotus lineup as well as assume a key role in the Lotus Engineering consultancy, a division often hired by third-party clients. Lotus' current design director, Russell Carr, whose latest work is the all-new Emira, will retain his position but it wasn't fully clear whether he'll directly report to Horbury.
Earlier this week, Lotus unveiled the first teasers of four upcoming new models. They'll all be pure battery electrics and it makes sense Geely and Lotus management want to have an experienced individual overseeing the design efforts. It won't be an easy task and there's a lot at stake.
The brand's first-ever SUV could become its best-seller. It'll be followed by a four-door coupe, a larger SUV, and a sports group developed in a partnership with Alpine. "I first visited Hethel just after Lotus was acquired in 2017 and I've been watching closely as the new plans have developed," Horbury said. "I'm delighted to be becoming a bigger part of that future."
The carmaker's Vision80 plan, which those four EVs are a part of, was launched in 2018 following its 70th anniversary. By 2028, the goal is to revolutionize the entire product range and have solid financial results ever year. Bringing in Horbury helps to make those lofty goals more attainable than ever.