Currently reading: Seat names Mercedes-Benz EV expert as new tech boss
Axel Andorff replaces long-time tech chief Matthias Rabe and will focus on electrification and connectivity plans

Seat has appointed the former head of concept development of Mercedes-Benz’s electric vehicle architecture, Axel Andorff, as its new vice president of research and development.

The 46-year-old, who also led development of the first-generation Mercedes-Benz GLA, Mercedes-Benz CLA and CLA Shooting Brake models, replaces the Barcelona firm’s long-time technical chief Matthias Rabe, who has switched to Volkswagen to lead its new Technical Development Operations division.

Rabe spent eight years at Seat, leading the development of the current Seat Leon and Seat Ibiza, along with the Seat Ateca, Seat Arona and Seat Tarraco SUVs, among other models. He also helped develop the initial models for Seat’s newly independent Cupra brand and the firm’s first bespoke electric car, the el-Born, which will be unveiled at the Geneva show.

Seat boss Luca de Meo said Rabe’s efforts “made us one of the fastest-growing car brands in Europe” and had taken the firm “to the next level”.

Andorff will be responsible for leading Seat’s R&D division, which encompasses both its design division and Seat’s technical centre. Seat said Andorff will have a particular focus on electrification, connectivity and developing new mobility solutions.

Read more

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James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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