The Slovakian will join BMW as head of design operations, while his predecessor Karim Habib may move to Volkswagen
8 February 2017

BMW has confirmed that Jozef Kabaň, the man behind the bullish look of the Bugatti Veyron and current head of design at Skodawill become its new head of design operations, replacing Karim Habib.

Jozef Kaban interview: how the Bugatti Veyron helped inspire Skoda's design

The 44-year-old Slovak will lead a team of designers responsible for the BMW brand, working under overall BMW Group design director Adrian van Hooydonk.

Read our review of the Skoda Kodiaq

Skoda has thanked the designer for his work with the manufacturer, saying he has “significantly influenced the design and emotionality of the brand”.

“We would like to thank Jozef Kabaň for his performance and wish him well in his future endeavours,” a statement read.

Since joining Skoda in 2008, Kabaň has completely revolutionised the manufacturer’s design ethos, earning many plaudits along the way. Kabaň's credits feature the current range of Skoda models, including the Octavia, Fabia, new Kodiaq SUV, and the forthcoming second-generation Yeti.

A specialist in exterior design, Kabaň studied at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava, Slovakia, from 1991.

In 1997, as a student supported by Volkswagen, he received a Master of Art degree from London's Royal College of Art.

During his studies, he took part in a Skoda design competition, in which he came second, and was subsequently offered a job at parent company Volkswagen, initially as a junior assistant of design and later as an exterior designer.

After joining Volkswagen in 1999, Kabaň penned the design for the original Bugatti Veyron EB16.4 under the direction of Volkswagen’s former head of design, Hartmut WarkußKabaň also designed the Volkswagen Lupo and Seat Arosa.

Read our Bugatti Veyron review

Kabaň moved to Audi in 2003, where he was made of head of exterior design before heading up design operations at Volkswagen’s Czech sister brand, Skoda, in 2008.

Kabaň will take up his new position at BMW with the manufacturer showing a change in the direction of its styling of late. Cars like the bold new Range Rover Evoque-rivalling BMW X2 show a more individual approach, with a focus on the lucrative SUV market.

The new head of design for BMW's i and M sub-brands has also been announced: Domagoj Dukec, who has been with BMW since 2010. A new head of design for Mini is still being sought.

Kabaň's predecessor, Karim Habib, meanwhile may join Volkswagen. Sources say Habib could become head of brand design at Volkswagen where former colleague Herbert Diess now works. Diess was previously at BMW with Habib as head of research and development (R&D).

It's unclear where such a move would leave the current head of Volkswagen design, Klaus Bischoff, who was appointed under the Volkswagen Group's former overall head of design operations, Walter de Silva.

Watch us drive the Bugatti Veyron

 

 

Our Verdict

Bugatti Veyron
The world doesn't need a car like the Bugatti Veyron, but the fact it exists at all is reason for celebration

The Bugatti Veyron redefines what's possible in a road car, but does it justify its eye-watering price?

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Comments
4

8 February 2017
Habib go. As far as I can see Hooydonk must go - he's responsible for the dullest designs.

10 February 2017
manicm wrote:

Habib go. As far as I can see Hooydonk must go - he's responsible for the dullest designs.

Agreed. Hooydonk achieved absolutely nothing at BMW

8 February 2017
How the world has changed: "BMW poach designer from Skoda"

9 February 2017
RSkoda wrote:

How the world has changed: "BMW poach designer from Skoda"

Quicker than it has ever changed before. Amazing what 20 years can do to two companies, and the poeple that work in them.

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