Peter Horbury has worked on countless projects during his 40-plus years as a car designer but he says his most recent undertaking – bringing Geely's Lynk & CO to life – was both "incredibly challenging" and "truly unique." Horbury and his team decided that Lynk & CO's first model, the 01 SUV, should combine the linear look of a Jeep with the sculpted, sporty features of a Porsche. They liked the result so much that they will extend what Horbury calls "the best of both worlds" to Lynk & CO's entire range. Horbury, who has been Geely's head of design since 2011 after holding top jobs with Volvo and Ford's Premier Automotive Group, recently met with Automotive News Europe Editor Luca Ciferri.
How would you describe the Lynk & CO project?
Incredibly challenging and a truly unique opportunity. Designers always say they start from a clean sheet of paper, but it is never truly like that because they have references in the family, in the history of the brand and in the previous models. Here it was truly a clean sheet of paper.
What was the brief for Lynk & CO?
The new range should be design driven, look Northern European, stand out and be led by a compact SUV.
Where did you look for inspiration?
Instead of looking at a specific brand we tried to combine the two predominant looks found in SUVs. There's a very linear, more constructed look, think of Jeeps and Land Rovers. Then there is the completely organic, sculpted, sporty look like Porsche and Infiniti. We tried to get the best of both worlds in one design language and we've got something new. We also felt that the combination of those two design languages could serve us on the whole range of cars.
How do you divide your time between Geely, Lynk & CO and Volvo?
I don’t touch Volvo at all, I have enough on my plate with Geely in China and the Lynk & CO cars here in Europe. My family is in Gothenburg, where I live. I spend one week a month in Shanghai, developing about 30 new projects at the same time.