Karma Automotive has appointed veteran designer David Hilton to the new role of head of global design.
Hilton, 50, a Detroit native, most recently was director of advanced design for Chinese automaker GAC Group in Shanghai, where he worked from 2018 until last year. He also held senior design positions at Changan Auto and Nio in China.
Hilton has a bachelor's degree in industrial design from the University of Cincinnati and he studied fine art at Detroit's Center for Creative Studies, now known as the College for Creative Studies.
He landed his first automotive job at Ford Motor Co. in 1991. His work there includes the 2000 Mondeo, the 2002 Focus RS high-performance hatchback and the 2007 S-Max midsize minivan sold in Europe. He also worked for Volkswagen in Brazil and Mazda in Japan as part of the automakers' exchange programs with Ford, according to his LinkedIn profile. He spent three years as the chief designer of Ford Racing until his departure toward the end of 2002.
In 2000, he founded Motorcity Europe, an automotive and product brand design consultancy.
Hilton was appointed head of exterior design at Bentley in 2012, where he penned the Bentayga superluxury SUV.
"In his new role, Mr. Hilton will oversee design strategy, plus lead the design teams in delivering world-class executions for interior, exterior and [user interface and user experience] designs for Karma vehicle models worldwide," Karma said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.
Hilton's job at the Irvine, Calif., company comes as it is beginning to move away from its design roots dating back to the Fisker Karma from a decade ago. Karma plans a new battery-electric SUV, the GX-1, and recently announced lower-priced versions of the Revero sedan called the GS-6 and GSe-6.
He will report to Kevin Zhang, the company's chief technology officer.
"Mr. Hilton's key role will be to lead the evolution of Karma Automotive's new design identity. Relying on his past experience, future Karma variants will embody an innovative and distinct design philosophy with a harmony of proportion, architecture, styling and technology, incorporated with modern, yet appropriate set of values," Karma's statement said.