Tesla is hiring a design chief to create cars for the Chinese market: report

(Credit: Vince Burlapp)

Tesla is looking for a design director in China as part of the EV maker’s efforts to launch a studio in the country. Citing people familiar with the matter, Reuters noted that the upcoming design studio could create electric cars tailored specifically for the tastes of Chinese consumers. 

Recent Weibo posts by a Tesla executive and the recruitment team suggest that Reuters‘ sources were accurate. Both Tesla China’s General Manager and the local recruitment team recently shared a poster looking for people for the company’s domestic R&D Center. Besides a local Chief Designer, Tesla China is also looking for an operations manager, color texture manager, and content manager for its R&D Center.

Tesla China/Weibo

In its efforts to establish a design center in China, Tesla has reportedly spent the last four months searching through the industry. According to the report’s sources, who opted to remain anonymous, Tesla is looking for “bi-cultural” candidates with over 20 or more years of experience to fill in its design director role. Candidates must be intimately familiar with Chinese tastes, bridging the gaps between China and the United States. 

Reuters’ sources added that Tesla’s search for its China design chief began around September, though there were major efforts to fill in the job opening around December, with a number of headhunters utilizing platforms such as LinkedIn to scout potential candidates.

Once a director is hired for China, Tesla will reportedly be filling in the county’s dedicated design team, which would comprise around 20 people. A number of candidates for the position have reportedly been interviewed by global design chief Franz von Holzhausen. 

Once operational, the dedicated design studio in China would not only help conceptualize the form of a car. The facility will also be creating the final three-dimensional models of vehicles. Research on Chinese consumer tastes will reportedly be conducted by the studio as well, allowing the company to operate a rather independent branch in the Asian country. 

“They want to give vehicle design a lot more bias toward China; they have already done a lot here, setting up a major manufacturing site and having sold a ton of EVs, but it seems Tesla’s ready to put roots down,” one of the sources noted. 

Elon Musk has noted in the past that a design center would be a great addition for Tesla’s operations China, especially as it would pave the way for the creation of an EV that is custom-designed for the demands of the local market. So far, speculations suggest that the first vehicle designed for China will be a smaller, more affordable car than the Model 3 sedan. Hints of such a project have emerged recently, with reports revealing that Tesla China intends to produce a third vehicle in Gigafactory Shanghai priced in the $25,000 to $30,000 range as early as 2022. 

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Tesla is hiring a design chief to create cars for the Chinese market: report
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