• Aug 4th 2008 at 4:27PM
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Click above for more shots of the Mazda Furai concept

We've received confirmation from both Darryl Siry and Mike Bumbeck at Tesla Motors that Franz von Holzhausen, the designer who since February of 2005 oversaw the design and development of all concept and production vehicles for Mazda North America, has moved on to the EV startup, where he will be the Design Director. This move is an interesting one, as he was reportedly 'hand-picked' by Elon Musk for the job. Considering just how awesome the Furai concept from the last Detroit Auto Show was with its E100 fueled three rotor Wankel engine, we think Tesla's got a good one on their hands here.

Right out of the gate, von Holzhausen will need to assemble a team of designers who will then likely get right to work on Tesla Motor's next batch of electric cars. This hiring also means that Tesla's future designs will all be created in-house, ending the need to bring in outsiders like the company had to do with Henrik Fisker. We all know how that turned out.

[Source: Tesla Motors via Car Design News]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Fisker was an amazing design choice, Now this. Elon has amazing taste in designers. It bodes well for Tesla's future products. Much better than the curious comment Elon made about doing the Model S design himself.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I hate to be negative, but doesn't this kind of imply that they are behind on the Whitestar (Model S) program.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "I hate to be negative, but doesn't this kind of imply that they are behind on the Whitestar (Model S) program."

        Only if you assume that the Model S is the last car they will ever produce.

        On a more positive note, I think this indicates that the Roadster is already a big success, that they believe the Model S will be a big success, and that they plan to eventually expand the company to an complete line up of electric vehicles. If you want to be negative, you can interpret that as: They are getting overconfident and ahead of themselves.
      • 7 Years Ago
      bob said: "Their timing is wrong at this point because the US economy is in the toilet and nobody is going to spend more than 30k for a car..."

      I tend to disagree. Tesla was actually smart to start at the high end. Go for high quality and expensive tastes. Sell to people with money to burn (rich people won't be as affected by a floundering US economy) who will have more than one car, so the car won't have to have perfect reliability as the buyers will have more than one form of transportation. The profit margin on a high end car is much, much higher than a low end one. It's too complicated and expensive to tool a factory for high volumes of economy cars. Best to stick with luxury and market themselves as an electric alternative to Lexuses and BMWs. It's very romantic to want an electric car for the masses, but on a business point of view, I don't think Tesla has the resources for this. Not to mention, the average Joe is much more discerning, and will not tolerate a car that breaks down. Better leave the economy EV to GM or Toyota, who have far more resources. Tesla could very well look at an economy EV down the road (ie 10+ years) but for now, if I were them, I'd develop their brand solely with quality, luxury EVs. They were right to start with the Roadster (a kind of super car of sorts)
      • 7 Years Ago
      Tesla needs to get their mid-level passenger car program going. The fact is that most people consider Tesla a company that makes playthings for the rich. In my opinion, starting with the extreme upper end of the market means they blew a lot of money on a program that could've been better spent simply developing more pedestrian cars for the masses. Their timing is wrong at this point because the US economy is in the toilet and nobody is going to spend more than 30k for a car if they can help it. If they have a mid-entry level car, they need to get that car out ASAP rather than focus any more efforts on 100k sports cars.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The dazzling Nagare Concept series outdid anything Fiskar ever did, so I'd say Tesla will now have much better designs for their upcoming models. .
      • 7 Years Ago
      I do hope this bodes well for them but I do hope that Tesla either decides to lower it's brand position to be more in line with that Mazda and less in line with BMW or they eventually launch an economy brand and keep Tesla as a premium luxury brand.

      Tesla seems to be working it's self into the high end of the spectrum and until they become more accessible I am going to cheer more for think getting the Ox on the road then Tesla and the Model S
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