• Apr 1, 2009
Following hot on the heels of reports that Volkswagen designer Derek Jenkins had defected to Mazda to head up its North American design office comes news that the Japanese automaker has replaced its global design chief, Laurens van der Acker, with Ikuo Maeda.
Van der Acker joins Volvo's Steve Mattin in leaving the design division of Ford's foreign operations, but Mazda's styling department should be left in capable hands with Maeda-san at the wheel. Maeda's been with the Zoom-Zoom company since April 1982, and has held a number of influential design positions within the Mazda hierarchy, having headed up its Design Strategic Studio and Yokohama design studio in the Eighties before moving to Detroit to work for parent company Ford. Maeda would then return to Mazda in 2000, where he spearheaded the design of the RX-8 and new Mazda2. In his new position atop the Mazda design totem-poll, Maeda will be working out of the company's headquarters in Hiroshima, Japan.

[Source: Mazda]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      So Laurens, the guy who penned the new Mazda3 is out and the guy who penned the RX-8 and Mazda2 is in.

      Sounds good to me :D
        • 5 Years Ago
        Who's this Ikuo Maeda, never heard of him.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ikuo Maeda's father helped design the original RX-7 (FC).
      • 5 Years Ago
      All I can say is that this Ikuo Maeda guy looks MEAN!!! It looks like Mazda means business. He's got this "Buy our cars or else" look on his face...
      I guess no more smileys for Mazda.

      Now the question is who is going to be next in this roulette of design leaders?
        • 5 Years Ago
        It's that snazzy jacket. It's like some twisted hybrid of a Member's Only jacket and a black single-breasted blazer.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is it just me, or does he look like Tony Stark? This could be a good thing. lol
      • 5 Years Ago
      My guess is that, after all the Bangle comments, the automotive PR people are figuring out that people actually care about designers. If we all started paying attention to lead engineers a bit more, they might start issuing press releases about them too.

      Now if this guy can just get the new RX-7 and Miata to look as good as his jacket, we'll be set.

      • 5 Years Ago
      So which is the guy with the rippled look?

      One of them wanted to have the "Nagare" or wind theme in the cars and wanted it on the Mazda 3 but it was too far along. It may have been the Mazdaspeed 3 but none the less one of them was to have all those little ripples in it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Kill the smiley's! They are good looking cars except for that.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think it's a bit too now that almost the whole lineup has the clown car look. Sigh.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was going to say the same thing

        hopefully this new guy tones it down a bit
        • 5 Years Ago
        Err...a bit too late. A bit too late, I meant.

        Sigh. Long morning.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Aren't the bōryokudan running the car companies in Japan anyway?
      Everybody know this.
      Finally their identity is being unveiled.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Sounds like lots of designers are playing musical chairs around and out of the industry...

      I guess we'll see what happens to the appearance of future design languages from various companies.

      Here's hoping it improves.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @MGBYG

        • 5 Years Ago
        @MGBYG

        i agree. the design chiefs are playing musical charis... i wonder if steve martin will become the head of . . . . . .
        • 5 Years Ago
        More like Design Managers and Studio Chiefs are moving around.

        The real designers are stuck where they are at.

        If these few "stars" actually are that influential in creating a design language for a company, ala Van der Acker, you would think they would have non-compete clauses that would keep them from jumping around like nearly everyone else in upper management.

        In most cases, the folks you've never heard of do all the work. Studio Chiefs like Bangle and Pardo are too busy in meetings with corporate to actually spend any creative time in the studio.
      • 5 Years Ago

      Look !!!!!!! He's not smiling !!!!!!!

      Get it,,,,not smiling,,,,, bad joke,,,but really he's not..... maybe the new grill wasn't his idea.
    • Load More Comments