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Callum: JLR needs design studios in China and US

Thu, 25 Oct 2012

Jaguar and Land Rover are to open design studios in China and the United States as the two British brands look to better understand local tastes, according to Ian Callum, Jaguar Design Director in an interview with Automotive News Europe.

The United States is currently the carmaker's second-biggest market after the UK, closely followed by China in third. To further tap into these markets is key for the long-term success of JLR and so it is following its competitors in opening up foreign design studios.

In April, BMW subsidiary DesignworksUSA opened its fourth studio in Shanghai, already having studios in Los Angeles, Munich and Singapore, while Mercedes-Benz and Audi both opened studios in Beijing last year.

Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Volvo all have California-based design studios, while Mercedes-Benz also has design centers in Tokyo and Italy. As well as Shanghai, Volvo somewhat surprisingly has a design studio in Spain.

"We will never design a car around another culture," Callum told Automotive News. "But we will certainly build into that vehicle certain national tastes for that market."

Clearly the classically British design of Jaguar Land Rover models would remain but as the premium market continues to boom, despite the current financial situation, Jaguar in particular must tap into key markets in order to boost sales.

By Rufus Thompson