Currently reading: Ex-JLR design boss Massimo Frascella replaces Marc Lichte at Audi
Architect of Defender, Discovery and Range Rover takes the reins for Ingolstadt's electric future

Ex-Jaguar and Land Rover designer Massimo Frascella has been announced as the new head of design for Audi, replacing Marc Lichte, who has held the role for 10 years.

Frascella’s appointment at Audi comes just a month after his departure from JLR, where he had led the styling of several core model lines, including the Land Rover Discovery, Defender and Range Rover

Prior to his arrival in Gaydon in 2011, the Italian had worked at Kia and Ford.

He takes the reins at Audi’s design studio on the cusp of a transformative era for the brand, with a wave of new electric cars and overhauled combustion models due in the coming years. 

Frascella said: “Joining Audi is a very special moment for me. I'm deeply honoured to assume the role of chief creative officer and to guide such a talented team in shaping the future of the brand to new heights of innovation and distinction. 

“I believe in the emotional power of design to inspire, connect and drive change, and I'm here to nurture and promote creativity as the beating heart of our brand."

He cited “simplicity” as a key pillar of his approach to car design and said he was “passionate about creating designs that are free from superfluous ornaments and do not merely follow trends”.

“Instead,” he said, “we will rely on a timeless and sophisticated design language.”

That ethos tallies neatly with that of his predecessor Lichte, who explained to Autocar in 2021 his guiding principles for designing an Audi for the modern era: “Design-wise, an Audi is very simple. It’s aesthetic intelligence, which has long been part of Audi. We’re trying to find the perfect symbiosis between innovative and progressive design. 

“That’s the key to Audi: it was in the past and will remain so in the future.”


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Lichte is moving into an unspecified role elsewhere in the Volkswagen Group, having been responsible for the design of Audi’s first wave of EVs and a number of as-yet unrevealed models due on sale in the coming years.

As well as being responsible hugely significant production models including the R8, A4, A6, Q8 E-tron and E-tron GT in his time as head of design, he also set the tone for Audi’s future design language with a trio of radical ‘Sphere’ concepts and recently hinted to Autocar that he was working on an electric 4x4 to rival the Defender. 

Audi CEO Gernot Döllner celebrated Lichte’s influence on the company: “Together with his team, Marc Lichte shaped the evolution of the brand’s design into the age of electric mobility. We thank Marc for having been a creative mind and visionary for the face of the brand for a decade.”

Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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sabre 19 February 2024
Neues Licht im Audi
catnip 16 February 2024

Wow, you wouldn't really want Discovery 5 on your CV, or maybe he forgot to mention that one, like so many enthusiastic articles about JLR's product range conveniently do.

SKH 15 February 2024

A week or so back Autocar mentioned that Nick Collins was joining EV startup 'Forseven' but I don't recall any news about his departure. Now Frascella ( and I assume his Wife) has left. Was this ever announced, outside of this article? It's very concerning that two prominent JLR higher ups have departed in the last month or so. wasn't Frascella in charge of the winning team selected to design the New EV Jaguars? Today is three years since the Reimagine strategy was announced and Jag EV prototypes still have not surfaced. I thought for sure, today we would at least get a shadowy picture of  the first of the 'Reimagined' Jags.