Former BMW head designer Karim Habib moves to Infiniti

Article by Christian A., on March 19, 2017

Karim Habib, former Head Designer of BMW, replaces Alfonso Albaisa as Head of Infiniti Design, effective July 1. As Albaisa has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Global Design for Nissan.

The 47-year-old Habib, who went to the Art Centre College for Design in Switzerland, has been an automotive designer for almost 2 decades. He began his career with BMW, and spent a few years working for Mercedes, and back to BMW, before deciding to join Infiniti. Some of his works while at BMW are: the 7 Series, the X2 concept, the 3.0 Hommage concept, and his most recent one, the 4 Series (launched in January).

Albaisa seems quite ecstatic that the Canadian designer will be joining the Infiniti team as he could be an influence for the next generation. [Albaisa] even said in an interview that Habib was “skilled at capturing the heart and passion of the brand” while giving each model its unique characteristics. He is good at creating “modern and inspiring designs”.

Habib also helped design the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class at Daimler. With an eye for style when it comes to luxury vehicles, that is probably the reason why Infiniti wanted to recruit him. But one thing about him that makes him extraordinary is his attention to detail. He once mentioned something about the “millimeter difference” and how it affects the interior of the car as it won’t have balance. Can you just imagine how a regular person would notice that? But it does make a lot of sense.

“A millimeter difference can mean a lot” says Habib. He stated that how the positioning of every detail in the car matters from the gearshift, the screen, and even to the cup holder. All these small details add up to the whole experience and you don’t want to mess that up. Aside from the positioning though, it’s the materials used for each part that play a big factor. They all have to be synchronized in a certain way.

Habib will be based in Atsugi, Japan, where Nissan’s technical centre is located. Aside from his post in Japan, he will be in charge of leading design teams in Beijing, San Diego, and London as well.

Infiniti currently has a lineup of eight vehicles. Will Habib stick to the style of the current models? Or will there be changes in the current look, as Habib applies his own style to the brand? Will he be working on Infiniti’s rumored Black S performance division, or perhaps concept cars? This is something a lot of us would be interested to know, and at the same time, excited to see.

Press Release

Karim Habib to lead INFINITI Design

Karim Habib, former Head of BMW Design has been named Head of INFINITI Design, effective July 1, 2017. Habib has an accomplished track record in Automotive Design for several premium automotive brands, including BMW and Daimler AG. He will be based in the company's technical center in Atsugi, Japan and lead the global INFINITI design teams in Japan; Beijing, China; San Diego, USA and London, England. He will report to Alfonso Albaisa, newly appointed Senior Vice President Global Design for NISSAN Motor Corporation.

"We are happy to have Karim join us and head our global INFINITI design teams. During his career as a designer and a leader of global teams he always created modern and inspiring designs" said Alfonso Albaisa. "Karim is very skilled at capturing the heart and passion of a brand while at the same time giving each design its unique character. I look forward to Karim inspiring our teams to shape the next generation of INFINITI's"

"Karim has a strong background and impressive track record in automotive design and the knowledge and mindset to develop a global premium brand" said Roland Krueger, Global President of INFINTI Motors Limited "Design is one of the key pillars of our global brand development at INFINITI. Karim brings unique design skills that will accelerate INFINITI's progress toward the goal of capturing and expanding our share in the global luxury market."

Karim Habib most recently led the BMW Brand Design team in Munich, Germany, where he was responsible for production and concept cars such as, the X1, the X2 Concept and the CSL Homage. Before this, as head of advanced design for Daimler, he worked on the current Mercedes-Benz C-Class as well as the new Smart. He started his career at BMW in Advanced Design where he was responsible for the Design of the previous 7 Series and the Concept CS.

Habib entered the automotive industry after earning a Mechanical engineering degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada and a design degree from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, USA.

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Topics: bmw, infiniti, design

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