Former BMW chief designer Chris Bangle is in demand from outside the auto industry as well as within – and the South Koreans seem the most eager to secure his services.
Perhaps they have seen the success former Audi head of design, Peter Schreyer has bought to Kia.
Samsung Electronics is the latest company looking to hire Bangle, according to company insiders.
They have told the Reuters news agency that the company wants Bangle to take charge of designing mobile phones, netbooks, home appliances and other devices for Korea’s top electronics manufacturer.
One said: “Samsung has been trying to offer him an advisory job, not an exclusive contract, for a long time.”
Bangle earned some notoriety during his time at BMW with his radical styling of the 2001 7-series but that has not deterred companies from chasing him since his non-compete clause contract with the German carmaker expired last month.
Hyundai Motor is known to have been looking to lure him to help combat a tough business environment this year, with rising competition from Japanese and US.
Chief executive Yang Seung-seok said during the Hyundai’s annual shareholder meeting that the won-dollar exchange rate is also forecast to decline steadily while US and Japanese carmakers are expected to recover competitiveness and beef up sales in emerging markets and for compact cars, Hyundai’s traditional strengths.
Hyundai and affiliate Kia, have been slow to tap the green car market, focusing more on fuel-efficient internal combustion engines. However, Hyundai plans to start sales of a hybrid version of its Sonata sedan in the US this year, while Kia plans to roll out a hybrid Optima sedan there in the first half.