How base jumping made its way inside the Jeep Renegade by Holly Reich @FortuneMagazine February 24, 2015, 2:47 PM EST E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons When Klaus Busse, Vice President of Interior Design for FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group) FCA was designing the 2015 Renegade, his team created a brown/light-grey cabin with pops of anodized orange accents. The color cues were taken from base jumping (parachuting from a fixed structure) gear. “My team has amazing ideas when it comes to materials and colors. For the Renegade, Jeep’s first small SUV, we looked at “renegade” or sports-like base jumping, parkour running, or sand surfing to create a unique color palette for this vehicle,” he noted. Other inspirations may come from something as simple as a stone that Busse found on a Lake Michigan beach and took back to the office to scan. The rock inspired the shape and texture of the Grand Cherokee’s center armrest release handle and has been used in Jeep vehicle interiors ever since. “We get away with a lot of crazy things. We have to constrain ourselves,” he said, laughing. For example, the left dial on the instrument panel uses a red paint ball splash blot instead of a dot to mark the high-rev-point signal. That’s just one of the dozen-or-so fun design “Easter eggs” the eagle-eyed consumer will find placed all over the new Renegade. We have a very tiny team so everyone is forced to contribute. The days of all-guy teams are over. Ours is very diverse,” he adds. The German designer, who has travelled the globe “four times over,” encourages everyone on his team to travel. “I go to Paris to see the fashions and creativity from food placement to what people are wearing,” he says. At over 6’ 7” tall, Busse could be a model. At the time of our interview, Busse was sporting a thin-fabric green army jacket and a funky t-shirt, with a pale green scarf that he had bought in Dubai casually draped around his neck. I wanted to know more about what makes a car designer tick so I asked him some questions about his personal style, how he unwinds and what . Fortune: Your fashion sense is fabulous. Every time I see you, your style is different. Klaus Busse: I wear everything from skull rings to John Varvatos, but I owe my style to my wife. She always pushes me to try things in a new way. For some reason she always knows what will be hip next year and she is always right! I don’t wear suits unless the occasion is very special but everything else goes. I do have quite a few t-shirts. My favorite ones are my SRT Hellcat launch team shirts because they’re just cool, and my white shark shirt I had to buy in South Africa after my luggage was lost. It’s less about how it looks but more about the memory of doing a shark dive that day and being face to face with one of these amazing creatures. Thankfully I was in a cage! How would you describe the way you design your home? Eclectic, streamlined, techie? Muted eclectic. My wife and I like to combine different styles. The colors are mostly rich browns, greys, and even a dark blue Damask wallpaper. But then we add some vibrant colors like orange plastic chairs or a fire engine red restroom door. The decorations are mostly items we found on one of our many trips, mostly to Asia. At the same time we like latest electronics like Nest, Sonos, or 4k displays. What do you place on your bedside table? Just a wake-up light that simulates sunrise and my company phone. My boss likes to send emails in the middle of the night. Do you travel light and do you have any tips for people who travel as much as you do? Usually I fly out light and come back heavy with things I found at local markets. As for tips: TSA Pre Check and Global Entry made airports enjoyable again! What are your four favorite foods? I learned to appreciate good food during my time in Italy with my previous employer (Mercedes-Benz). At that time we were working on concept cars with a company in Turin. Since then I like to try new things where I go. My two favorites are Moqueca (a saltwater fish stew cooked in a terra cotta casserole) that I had during the World Cup in Brazil last year and my first Bulgogi (a dish made with grilled marinated beef) during a visit to Seoul a few years back. Great food makes me want to hug someone! What do you do to unwind? Ideally I like to take my SRT on to a racetrack. It forces you to ignore everything else. On a daily basis I try to find time to run down to the gym that we have on site. It also allows me to meet new people from all areas of the company. If you were to pick someone you’d most like to emulate, who would that be. And why? Easy answer: My boss and friend Ralph Gilles! We worked closely together for the last 10 years putting Chrysler interiors back on the map. Along that time we created a lot of lasting memories. He is humble despite his success, very approachable for everyone, and we share the passion for fast cars! What is the funniest thing that happened to you lately? My three-year-old son running through the house in his knight costume chasing our dog. Describe yourself in a sentence. Fun-loving guy who grew up on a small farm in Germany and still can’t believe what happened to him. How do you design for the auto industry and keep it fresh? So many times people say that the auto industry is slow and behind. But we have to create for the long term – it’s not a throwaway item. You have to think what people will want not just now but years from now.