Two Mercury design chiefs. Two different entries to a new job.
Darrell Behmer, 40, was introduced in February with a bit of fanfare at the Chicago Auto Show. Phil Simmons, 36, quietly started work in April.
Lincoln Mercury spokesman Jim Cain said Behmer's introduction as Mercury chief designer just happened to coincide with the Chicago show. The venue, he said, presented a good opportunity to show Ford Motor Co.'s progress in building a new team to revamp Mercury.
Cain said Ford didn't announce Simmons' arrival because the company usually only publicizes personnel moves at the vice president level or higher
Since becoming co-chief designers, Behmer and Simmons have immersed themselves in Mercury's history, looking for signature styling cues to build into a consistent design theme. That may come easier for Behmer, an American, than it does for Simmons, who is British.
Behmer is responsible for trucks, and for changes made to vehicles now in production. Simmons is working on cars.
Simmons came to Mercury by way of Land Rover, which Ford bought from BMW in 1999. Simmons spent a decade with Land Rover, where he worked with Gerry McGovern, Lincoln Mercury's design director.
Behmer has spent his career in Ford Motor's design department. He works out of Ford's Dearborn, Mich., Product Development Center, while Simmons divides his time between Lincoln Mercury's Design Center in Irvine, Calif., and Ford's Dearborn, Mich., facility. A Lincoln Mercury spokeswoman said the exact role each facility will play in shaping future Mercury vehicles is still being determined.