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Friday, June 25, 1999 Published at 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK

Business: The Company File

Jaguar's chief designer dies

Lawson with one of his design triumphs

Jaguar Cars' chief designer has died after suffering a stroke.

Geoff Lawson, the UK company's director of styling, was responsible for the successful S-Type Jag.

He was also the man behind the planned "baby Jag", due to begin production in 2001.

Mr Lawson died after being admitted to hospital on Thursday. He was 54.

Jaguar chairman Dr Wolfgang Reitzle said: "Geoff Lawson was an internationally respected and very popular figure, well known throughout the world's motor industry.

Furniture design

"He was a brilliant designer and his Jaguar designs, some launched and some yet to be launched, will always speak for themselves.

"His great gift was the ability to recognise the importance of classic styling cues from great Jaguars of the past and then translate them into modern Jaguars in a new and contemporary fashion. He will be sorely missed."

[ image: His
His "Baby" will take the Jag into a new market
Mr Lawson, married with two children, lived in Southam, Warwickshire.

His career took off with General Motors after studying design at his home city of Leicester's college of art and then taking a master in furniture design at the Royal College of Art in London.

After graduating, he joined General Motors' (GM) subsidiary Vauxhall in 1969 as a designer. He later worked on car and truck programmes for GM in Europe and the USA, progressing to chief designer level.

Charity ball

He was appointed top designer at the Coventry-based luxury car specialists in 1984, and was responsible for creating a highly-successful series of new Jaguars.

Among his triumphs were the XJ220, the new XJ6, XJ8, the XK8 sports car and most recently the S-Type saloon.

All won design awards and achieved worldwide sales.

His successful designs were a highly influential factor in the Ford-owned company's transformation in the 1990s.

During this period he also led a major expansion in Jaguar's styling resources and facilities at the company's Whitley Engineering Centre.

Many of his designs are yet to be built, including the new "baby Jag" which will be produced at Halewood on Merseyside in 2001.

Mr Lawson's death casts a shadow over the company's annual charity ball in Coventry on Friday night.

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