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      02-03-2009, 06:31 PM   #77
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Looks like Bangle may have quit after losing a power struggle...

As promised, we’re back with some new information regarding Bangle’s departure from BMW, the reasons behind it and how will this impact BMW and future designs.

As we might have hinted earlier, lately it has been an internal fight, argument if you would like to call it, about the future of some BMW projects. Apparently, the Project i is the one that divided the designers and the board. Mr. Bangle’s idea did not coincide with his protege, Adrian Von Hooydonk, and BMW’s Chief of Research & Development, Dr. Draeger, and CEO, Reithofer, who is directly responsible for the Project i.

Bangle’s ideas were denied and felt marginalized since other people in is design department didn’t quite support him. This conflict pushed him to resign from BMW since he couldn’t take responsibility for the design strategy chosen by other people.

The Board of Directors tried to convince Bangle to stay on board and alternative positions were offered to him, including the Design Director of the U.S based, DesignworksUSA. Bangle turned down the offers but he will still cooperate at some level with BMW, mainly on non-automotive projects, most likely in the Designworks team. Sources say that he might be involved in some interior design projects, but probably too early to know for sure.

Adrian Von Hooydonk will be the replacement and will be involved in the Project i, which has been “greenlighted” by the Board. Regarding Project i , the fight was about whether to introduce a new brand and design, or to introduce the new vehicles under BMW or MINI brand.

As we know, BMW design language and strategy is set in motion years before the models hit the showrooms, so there will not be an immediate change in the BMW, MINI or Rolls-Royce designs. The first post-Bangle era design will be seen in 6-7 years, in one of the new BMWs.

So ….very unexpectedly the Bangle-era has ended at BMW AG. Ironically the advertised “New Era” has at least officially arrived: the company is going through a huge economic crisis, Chris Bangle resigns after many years with the company, the new M models are going turbo and overall, the BMW brand is repositioning itself…a “New Era” indeed.

As an ending point, it is worth mentioning that Von Hooydonk’s ideas on all the design languages was and is very in sync with Bangle views, Project i being the exception.

Who was right or wrong? Time will tell…..

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