Change is the order of the day at Bentley, BMW, Chery, Hyundai, Volvo and Volkswagen as each experiences turnover in their design studios through internal promotions or external recruiting.

Former Volkswagen designer Thomas Ingenlath steps into his new position as design director of Volvo Cars in Gothenburg, Sweden. It is understood that Ingenlath will report to Peter Horbury who assumes the newly created position of senior vice president-design at China-based Geely Group, Volvo’s parent company.

Ingenlath, a graduate of London’s Royal College of Art, most recently led Volkswagen Group’s design studio in Potsdam, Germany, a position that was absorbed by Stefan Sielaff, former Audi brand design director, when he became head of the auto maker’s interior-design organization in February.

Ingenlath led the teams that designed the VW NILS concept car revealed at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show and the Concept Bluesport roadster unveiled at the Detroit auto show in 2009. Prior to his Potsdam appointment, he worked at VW’s Czech subsidiary, Skoda, where he defined the brand's design identity and was responsible for the Fabia and Roomster small cars.

In the U.K., U.S.-born designer David Hilton has been appointed exterior-design director at Bentley Motors. Following a career as an independent designer and founder of his own design consultancy, Motorcity Europe, Hilton replaces Raul Pires, who was tapped to run ItalDesign Guigiaro, recently acquired by VW.

Hilton reports directly to Dirk van Braekel, Bentley’s director of design and styling.

Over his 20-year career, Hilton has been credited with designing numerous production and concept cars for more than 15 auto makers in at least 10 countries. His projects included the Spectre-MC1 Supercar, concepts for Hyundai-Kia, trucks for TATA L.C., design support for Mazda and exterior design for Ford’s ’07 S-MAX compact people-mover.

Previous to MCE, Hilton worked for Ford in the U.S., Japan, Brazil and Germany on products ranging from the F-150 fullsize pickup to the sporty Focus ST compact car. As chief designer at Ford Racing, he penned the highly praised Focus RS.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., Hyundai announces a successor to Phil Zak, who resigned from his role at the company’s California-based studio in 2010. Former BMW designer Chris Chapman – a graduate of Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design whose works include the X5 midsize cross/utility vehicle – was named to lead Hyundai’s North American Design Center in January.

Chapman, a California native, is credited with the exterior design of the Isuzu XU-1 show car, named best concept at the 1993 Tokyo motor show, and the first-generation BMW 1-Series.

Continuing west, another North American has taken the helm at a major auto maker. James Hope, a Canadian native who most recently served as assistant chief designer at General Motors’ European Design Studio in Russelsheim, Germany, has taken up the job of corporate director-design at China-based Chery Automobile. He reports to Vice President of Product Development Chen Anning.

Based in Shanghai, Hope, a graduate of Detroit’s College for Creative Studies, has been working with a core team of strategy members and a team of about 90 designers in the company’s main research and design center in the city of Wuhu, in the eastern province of Anhui.

Hope has worked for Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Johnson Controls and GM Europe on both exterior and interior design projects.

His career highlights include the Ford GT90 show car (which was the cornerstone of Ford’s ‘New Edge’ design philosophy), the successful rebirth of the 2004 Ford Mustang, and supporting the Fiat 500 (Trepiuno) show car unveiled at the 2004 Geneva motor show.

More recently, he was involved in the creation of the ’12 Opel Zafira and Corsa MCE while at GM Europe.