Chris Bangle left BMW just a few weeks ago, and now 7-series designer Karim Habib has signed on with the company's main rival, Mercedes-Benz. The job puts him directly under Mercedes design chief Gorden Wagener.

Habib will be responsible for the F-series of vehicles at Mercedes. One of the most recent of the F cars was the F700 Concept, an economical and efficient super-luxury cruiser with a very forward-looking though controversial design.

Other BMW projects Habib was responsible for include the equally controversial CS Concept, reviled by BMW fans and foes alike for many of its details, but at the same time said to be the inspiration for many of BMW's upcoming designs as well.

The move to Mercedes reflects the design vacuum left at BMW since Bangle's departure, and leaves the future of BMW design somewhat uncertain. One thing is for sure: BMW can't like seeing some of its best talent go to the opposition.