The auto industry isn’t what it used to be. Gearheads still are welcome, but so are people with new skills and diverse backgrounds. The Auto Inspire interview series showcases inspirational stories of people working within the automotive technology industry.
The stereotype of an automotive designer is a person who starts out drawing cars when they are a kid and end up working for a major automaker creating sleek sports cars.
Joann Jung (pictured below) doesn’t fit that mold. She immigrated to the U.S. from South Korea with her family when she was a teenager and she wanted to be an artist or sculptor.
Even so, she decided to take a job as a designer at Ford Motor Co. after graduating from the Art Center College of Design in California.
At Ford she rose steadily through the ranks, not by sketching sheet metal, but by using her fascination with 3D shapes and sculpture to create award-winning interiors for everything from luxury cars to Ford’s F-150 pickup, the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. for decades.
“I started playing with Legos when I was three. It felt like a very natural thing for me to be interested in space and sculpting,” she says. She calls vehicle interiors “interactive sculpture.”
“For me, the car is a product that is alive. It is a beautiful thing to look at and once I get in it becomes part of me,” she says in her recent Auto Inspire interview.
Jung rose to head the Global Advance Interior Design group at Ford, where she managed multiple advanced projects with a multi-disciplinary team.
She says she loved her years at Ford, but six years ago found irresistible an opportunity to create an interior for a revolutionary electric luxury car at Lucid Motors.
As Creative Director of Interior Design at Lucid Motors, she oversees development of vehicle interiors from concept strategy to volume production, with the goal of designing ultimate in-vehicle experiences for all occupants by creating a unique interior space concept.
Jung says creating a vehicle from scratch is a feeling like no other. “When I saw the car rolling out of our garage the first time in person I did cry, I’m not going to lie,” she says.
Hear Joann Jung’s advice to young women pursuing automotive design careers and more by watching her interview here: Auto Inspire: Joann Jung Interview