Former Volvo and Geely Design Boss Peter Horbury Passes Away

Peter Horbury has passed away, shocking the global auto industry, auto design community as well as his family and countless amazing friends. He was 73 years old, still very much at work, and died an unexpected death.

One of the design titans, Horbury started his career in the mid-70s with Chrysler after which he moved to Ford, but he was best known for changing Volvo’s styling in the 1990s and bringing significant improvements to Ford in the US in the early 2000s. He then helped develop the multi-brand strategy of the Chinese multinational Geely Group, which expanded beyond just sports cars and included Lynk & Co. and Lotus. The concentric grille on Geely, in particular, is Horbury’s creation and serves as the brand’s recognizable persona.

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He was one of the foremost foreign designers to land in China once Volvo was acquired by Geely in 2010. As Geely’s group design chief, Peter Horbury managed over 600 staff in locations such as Shanghai, Gothenburg, Barcelona, and California.

Related: Geely Design Chief Peter Horbury Talks About Creating an Image for the Rising Brand

Horbury was born in Northumberland, and no matter how many other continents he had resided in, he retained recognizable traces of the accent throughout his life. He received his schooling in automotive design at the RCA in London, one of the first top institutions in the field. Horbury possessed all the traits necessary to implement significant design change. He was a talented designer in his own right, a cooperative team leader, and a consummate communicator.

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Horbury never adopted the prideful rock star poses that some people in the design industry do. He may have because he left behind a legacy that is virtually entirely composed of hits. But he was simply too real, too human, and too humorous. His leaving has stunned a lot of people, and they will all miss him dearly.

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