Rolls-Royce CEO Tony Gott was asked recently whether Dirk van Braeckel should be designing Rolls-Royces and Bentleys.
Could van Braeckel - a Belgian who had made his name in the Czech Republic designing the highly acclaimed Skoda Octavia - really design those quintessentially aristocratic British marques?
Gott replied a bit testily: 'Why is it somebody has to be born at Henley-on-Thames and go to a certain school to design a British product? They don't.'
Look around the auto industry, and you'll see Gott is right. It doesn't seem to matter where automotive stylists come from. A good stylist can do a car to fit a brand and the culture that brand grew out of regardless of where he or she was born.
Chris Bangle, BMW's design chief, hails from the American Midwest and spent seven years with Fiat Auto in Turin before moving to Munich. His BMWs bear no real resemblance to his Fiats, nor do the cars he designs look American.
Peter Horbury, English by birth, has found himself quite at home as Volvo's chief designer in Gothenburg. Horbury actually feels his English origins help him gain a fresh perspective on Sweden.
'It's one of the benefits of being a foreigner in a land,' he said. 'You see things everybody else takes for granted.'