Franz von Holzhausen, Mazda’s young North American design director, has resigned to take the top job at Tesla Motors.
He’ll become Design Director of a yet-to-be established Tesla studio, working on the fledgling electric car company’s future models.
Von Holzhausen, 39, had been seen as Mazda’s star designer, and oversaw the development of the incredible Furai racing concept car, among other projects. Industry insiders have described his new career move as ‘bold’.
It’s understood that Tesla boss Elon Musk personally headhunted von Holzhausen for the job. Musk wants him to establish his own LA-based design team and entice other highly regarded designers to Tesla.
Although Autocar’s sources say von Holzhausen made an immense contribution to developing Mazda’s next-generation ‘Nagare’ design philosophy, his departure is unlikely to affect its implementation on future Mazda models. Global design boss Laurens van den Acker will continue to guide Mazda’s design direction.