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Coventry University celebrates 50 years of world-famous transport course where chiefs of Tesla, Maserati and JLR fuelled their dreams

Coventry University is celebrating 50 years of its internationally renowned Automotive and Transport Design course which helped big names in the industry on the road to success.

The course is one of the longest-running Bachelor’s programmes in the university, having started in 1974, and has now seen nearly 3,000 students pass through the undergraduate programme and a further 500 graduate from the Master’s programme, making it one of the foremost transport courses worldwide.

Nick Hull, Associate Professor on the Automotive and Transport Design course, has curated an exhibition entitled Coventry Connections to celebrate the success of the past five decades.

He said: “There are automotive design centres all over the world which has meant that this course has always had a global reach. We couldn’t be prouder that many Coventry alumni now head up these studios across the world.

“The memories of the course – the students, graduates, staff and the buildings, the pubs and bars – are a powerful bond that connects those alumni together and provides a natural conversation when new recruits join a design team, whether it be in San Francisco, Shanghai or Stuttgart.”

The impressive list of notable alumni includes: Gerry McGovern, JLR’s Chief Creative Officer, and the firm’s former Director of Design, Ian Callum; Matthew Weaver who graduated in 1997 and is now the Vice President Design at Nissan Motor Corporation; Lisa Reeves, who is Head of Interior Design at Volvo Cars in Sweden; Robin Page who graduated in 1995 and is now the Design Director for Bentley Cars; Klaus Busse who also graduated in 1995 and is now Head of Design at Maserati and Stellantis in Turin;, Miles Nurnberger, the Director of Design for Aston Martin; and David Imai, Tesla’s Director of Design in California.

Nick has also co-written a new book on the legacy of the course, which will launch to coincide with the exhibition. Also entitled Coventry Connections, the hardback book has been written with assistance from another Coventry graduate, Andy Plumb, and tells how the course that has started the dream career of many transport designers over the last 50 years.

The public exhibition and will open on 1 June to 28 June in the School of Art & Design’s gallery in the new Delia Derbyshire Building. There will also be a Designer’s Night and the book launch event on 31 May which will welcome back many of the university’s successful alumni and key industry contacts.

The book is available from

About Coventry University

Coventry University is a global, modern university with a mission of creating better futures. We were founded by entrepreneurs and industrialists in 1843 as the Coventry School of Design and we continue to work with businesses to ensure we provide job-ready graduates with the skills and creative thinking to improve their communities.

With a proud tradition of innovative teaching and learning, Coventry University is now one of the largest in the UK and has world-class campus facilities, the UK’s first standalone 5G network and a digital community of learning. Our students are part of a global network that has 50,000 learners studying Coventry University degrees in more than 40 different countries and partnerships with 150 higher education providers worldwide.

Over two centuries, we have flourished in our home city and Coventry University Group now also delivers access to our range of high-quality services and partnerships through bases in London, Scarborough, Belgium, Poland, Egypt, Dubai, Singapore and Africa. From September 2023, we will be teaching students at a new campus in China in a joint institution with Communication University of China.

We have greatly increased our research capacity and capability with a focus on impactful research, delivered for and with partners to address real-world challenges and support the sustainable growth of business and communities. The depth and breadth of our rapidly growing research portfolio was validated by the latest UK research assessment, which saw us jump 22 places in the research power rankings.

We were awarded a Gold rating in the 2023 Teaching Excellence Framework, proving we deliver excellence in what students care most about – teaching, learning and achieving positive outcomes from their studies. In 2022, we were honoured with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category of International Trade, the UK’s most prestigious business award. In recent years, we have won many awards and vastly improved our rankings in the league tables that matter to students – but what matters to us is delivering transformational change for our students, partners and communities around the world as we continue to evolve into a global education group.

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