Posted by: David Kiley on April 1, 2009
Ford Americas chief of design Peter Horbury is leaving his post and will return to be head of design at Volvo Cars. Horbury had been head of Volvo design before coming to Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn a few years ago.
Horbury, a Brit, has overseen the following designs: the current Ford Focus (an update from the old one, not a total redo), the 2010 Ford Taurus, the 2009 Ford F Series; update of the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ, the Ford Flex, the Lincoln MKS and MKT, 2010 Mustang and of course several designs we haven’t seen yet.
Ford is reportedly close to selling Volvo. Indeed, it’s possible there is an agreement all but done with a suitor. Horbury will be hoping that Volvo’s new owner will keep him in place if a contract hasn’t already been worked out.
Horbury will be replaced in Dearborn by Moray Callum, a Scot by birth. At Volvo, Horbury is replacing Stephen Mattin who left the company.
Horbury is chiefly responsible for the current design scheme at Volvo exemplified in the S80, S60, S40 and XC90. The more masculine and “shouldered” exterior lines of those cars was a process led by Horbury before he came to Ford. The XC90 in particular was a very popular model before the company allowed the design to get old, and exchange rates hurt the car’s pricing and sales.
Horbury once told me that the inspiration behind the XC90 design was “to design the perfect automotive husband.”
Horbury will be missed. At an awfully tough time in Detroit, he has been a very good and dedicated bloke.