• Aug 4, 2008
It's already on Wikipedia so it must be true. We've just received confirmation from Tesla Motors that the upstart electric car company has somehow managed to snag Mazda's top designer to become its new Design Director and head up a team of in-house designers at a new studio. Franz von Holzhausen is the current rock star of the automobile design world, having been the creative force behind the last few year's worth of Mazda concepts that include the Nagare and Furai, as well as overseeing the design of all Mazda production vehicles in North America since February 2005. von Holzhausen has also been a designer at both General Motors and Volkswagen.

This is a major coup for Tesla, as its current Roadster was designed entirely by Lotus. The company's chairman, Elon Musk, reportedly hand-picked von Holzhausen to design the rest of Tesla's electric car range that will include both a mainstream sedan and sport compact.

A press release is on its way from Tesla Motors and will be added to this post when it arrives. Thanks for the tip, Antontio and David!

[Source: Car Design News]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 25 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Careful Franz. If you go on to do anything electric car related after this, expect a law suit.
      • 6 Years Ago
      No loss for Mazda if those ugly ass concepts are any indication of what he will do at Tesla.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You must be on crack if you think the Furai is ugly. I'll admit that it's not the prettiest concept in the world but it's FAR from being ugly.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I dont care for the "flow" design or whatever it is being called. The Sky and Solstice are nice looking and the I like the RX-8 but those two concepts are not attractive to me. Not a fan of all the creases and folds.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Furai is an ALMS P1/P2 car for the street... its a bad mo-fo!!! The "flow" needs to be controled a bit, but it works on this racer inspired concept IMO.

        Is the designer taking that speedy looking leather jacket (complete with white leather stripes...) to Tesla as well?
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Furai is ugly? I'd give my left nut for that car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Furai is ugly.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow. Money talked eh? He's going from what has become one of the most well-entrenched car companies (in terms of design and product line-up clarity) to a start-up with significant issues and a patchy future.

      To be honest...maybe now Mazda will actually give us a production model sports car, instead of investing in half a dozen "It's from 2050AD!!!" show cars.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Has Tesla sold a single car to the public yet? I'm just wondering where they are getting all of their capital from.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I like his style, definitely suits my taste in auto design.
      • 6 Years Ago
      mazda miata is nice car than others.however mazda products are very good
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's tragic that he didn't leave before beating their lineup for the next several years with the ugly stick. After owning two Mazdas I left during the dark times of the late '90s and early '00s, then came back. But unless they start selling the Mazda2 here I can't see anything I'd buy before the next design cycle in '13 and beyond.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have to agree with the sentiment that the RX8 refresh was less than stellar. The front end was the big change, and it came out worse. the wheels, spoiler and tail lights are small things that aren't necessarily worse.

      But the Kabura was fantastic, and one of von Holzhausen's first concepts that I have heard of. Nothing ever came of it.

      The rest of the concepts were wacky, and bore no resemblance to reality.

      The Furai is fantastic, and I wish that would translate into some sort of a car. But I doubt it will. Mazda has gotten too mainstream with FWD 3s and 6s, and CUVs.

      They won't do what it takes to turbocharge the NC Miata, and the Kabura is a no-show, let alone an RX7 successor.

      Zoom Zoom is loosing it's zoom. And I can't blame Franz for seeking a better deal. Hopefully the new teslas look great, if the company can actually make a go of it.

      Considering how much the Tesla roadster costs, compared to the closely chassis-related Elise, I wonder how much a "sport compact" from tesla will cost... $50k? (120% more than other vehicles in it's class, like the tesla roadster)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Autoline Detroit (John McElroy) interview of Franz von Holzhausen and a tour of the Mazda North America facility... interesting stuff:

      http://www.autolinedetroit.tv/show/1223?play
      • 6 Years Ago
      *yawn*
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yawn?

        Not an American?

        Let me put this into context for you:
        This is exciting news. A highly responsive up and coming American automobile company just hired one of the world's best automotive designers at a time when our other domestic automobile companies are doing/will be doing absolutely horrific.

        In other words: Hope for America's future automotive industry!!! Whoohooo!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Thank goodness.

      I wonder how many of his designs we haven't seen yet, but the '09 RX-8 is fugly.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Maybe it's because I see them all the time at work and think they could have done better with the refresh.
        The center grille is too wide, too happy looking, and the tail lights look silly compared with the ultra modern ones the original RX8 had.

        I agree though, the wheels are the sex, especially the 19's on the R3 model.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The RX8 is fugly? wow, then what classification does the Aztek bring about for design failure if your bar for successes is so remarkably low.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Really? There is one on display at my nearest Mazda dealership - all black, subtle spoiler and those gun-metal grey rims and it looks great.
      • 6 Years Ago
      i really do approve. i like my cars nice and nuts. and with a digital punch.
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