Former FIAT Design Chief joins Riversimple

Christopher Reitz, the top European car designer who headed the design team at Fiat – where he was responsible for the Fiat 500 – and then Alfa Romeo, has joined Riversimple, the UK based company which is developing a hydrogen fuel cell car.  It is one of the most high-profile moves away from the traditional automotive industry to sustainable transport and Reitz said: “This really is a step into something different, to design cars that really are the future. Increasingly I have felt that it does not make much sense to move tons of steel around, using a lot of fuel and resources. There has to be a better way and I think Riversimple has found it, not only with its hydrogen fuel cell car but with the whole concept of the company which has as its goal complete sustainability.”

Reitz’s first job will be to design the cars that will be seen on the streets of Leicester, when pilot schemes get underway in the summer of 2012. In a ground-breaking deal with Leicester City Council, 30 cars will be driven around Leicester for a year, with drivers providing feedback on their experience.   Reitz, aged 42, said: “It has to look good as well as be functional. We don’t want to shock because if you shock you are very quickly old and out of fashion. We need to be robust, innovative and safe and getting the right mixture will help produce a successful product. It is very exciting.’ Hugo Spowers, the Riversimple founder, said: “I am delighted that someone of Chris’ calibre and standing in the automotive world has decided to join Riversimple and help us to produce sustainable cars that will be the envy of others. Chris has been responsible for some of the most beautiful and practical designs in the auto industry in recent years. His experience and flair will be of great help to us as we move towards seeing Riversimple cars on the streets and roads of the UK.”

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