Kevin Rice left Mazda a baker's dozen years ago, but now he's back.

A graduate of the Transportation Design program at Coventry University (just across town from Jaguar headquarters), Rice worked his way up in the industry working for the likes of Opel and Italdesign Giugiaro before landing a job at Mazda. Between 1995 and 2000, he collaborated on such projects as the RX-8 and the 1999 Neospace concept that previewed the Mazda2 before moving on to BMW, where the new 3 Series and 4 Series were among the last projects he worked on during his 13-year tenure in Munich.

Now back at Mazda, Rice has been named the Japanese automaker's new creative director, charged with further honing the brand's KODO design language from its European headquarters in Oberursel, Germany. We're looking forward to seeing what he and his design team come up with in the coming years.
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MAZDA BOLSTERS DESIGN SQUAD WITH CREATIVE DIRECTOR

- Kevin Rice rejoins company after 13 years with BMW
- Design talent's primary focus to build on the success of Mazda's KODO designs


Leverkusen, 28 October 2013. Mazda has strengthened its European design team with the addition of Kevin Rice as creative director. Effective 1 October, the 49-year-old will lead the European creative design process and will focus his attention on further developing the company's award-winning "KODO – Soul of Motion" design language.

The move marks Rice's return to Mazda's European R&D Centre in Oberursel, Germany. As senior designer from 1995 to 2000, he contributed to many proposals for future Mazda's including the RX-8 and lead the development of the 'Neospace' show car, exhibited at the 1999 Frankfurt Motor Show. Rice subsequently spent 13 years at BMW, where he was responsible for the exterior development of many models including the new 3 and 4 series. He now brings this valuable premium experience to the unconventional Japanese brand.

Rice, a British national, studied Transportation Design at Coventry University and prior to joining Mazda in 1995, honed his skills at Italdesign in Italy and Opel in Germany.

"We're really excited to have Kevin back. He's no stranger to Mazda, and his experience at BMW adds an extra dimension that will transfer very well to our European design activities," says Peter Birtwhistle, Chief Designer at Mazda Research Europe. "He's certainly the kind of talent we need to lead Mazda successfully into the future."

"I'm delighted to be here as part of a family guided by a convention-defying approach to designing and building cars that people crave to own," remarked Rice. "I've made it my personal challenge to reinforce the competitive edge of our KODO-inspired models and build upon the Mazda brand's positive momentum."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 48 Comments
      EverythingBagel
      • 1 Year Ago
      To my eyes, Mazda's recent designs have been much more compelling than BMW's, so this piece of news doesn't really excite.
        AP1_S2K
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EverythingBagel
        they just need a little help with their interiors otherwise I think Mazda is doing a great job.
      EZen
      • 1 Year Ago
      Send him back. Mazda's current design is the best in each segment they operate in. They just need to bring back an RX-7/RX-8 sportscar. The new BMW 3 and 4 series are uninspired, iterative and joyless. The current Mazda crop is absolutely excellent.
      Jake
      • 1 Year Ago
      Did he just get back from going scuba diving?
      Juan on Juan
      • 1 Year Ago
      1995 - 2000 was a bad era for Mazda car design.
        Carmaker1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Juan on Juan
        Based on what timeline exactly? Most of the Mazda's design work during that 1995-2000 period debuted between 1997 and 2003. Mazda fixed their design theme in 1999 to what later became the 2003 6 and 2004 3 & RX-8. What happens in the present for car design, is decided on 2-4 years prior. The Kodo design language was created during 2008-09 and first shown on the Shinari concept in 2010, first seeing production on the 2013 CX-5. I'd say the Mazdas designed between 1993-1998 are the bad ones.
      bK
      • 1 Year Ago
      What happened to the guy who designed the kodo design?
      ngiotta
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oh my. The purple scarf. The bro-hawk. The MSNBC hipster glasses. This guy doesn't belong at Mazda... he belongs in a tent outside of an Apple store.
        linuxaddict7
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ngiotta
        Or at a star bucks with an apple computer near fashion district.
        The Wasp
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ngiotta
        I assume he does his work on a Macbook either near a Starbucks and/or Apple store somewhere in Germany.
      AGSHOP
      • 1 Year Ago
      good. maybe bmw's will start to become relevant again. As for mazda they never have been so who cares.
        MPLS612
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AGSHOP
        Ignorance is bliss. Never been relevant? 2009 CX9 crossover SUV of the year, 2013/14 CX5 Crossover SUV of the year, MX5 top selling roadster of all time, Mazda 3 Best Buy award, Best small car 2010, 2013, best cost to own award. I could keep going, but I just realized the time I've wasted on a reply to you.
          Daniel D
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MPLS612
          That means the by your standard macutty nothing good has been made since the Camry.
          MPLS612
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MPLS612
          Ok then.... Mazda 3 over 1 million is sales over 3 years, Mazda 6 over a million in 3 years, MX5 in the Guinness Book of Records as the bestselling two-seater sports car in history (over 900,000 sold). Car and Driver named the new Mazda 6 the only car to look at in it's class. The CX5 Road and Track considered it the best Crossover in its class. Is that relevant enough?
          MPLS612
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MPLS612
          http://www.mazdausamedia.com/2013-09-04-MAZDA-SETS-10-YEAR-SALES-RECORD-IN-AUGUST
          macutty
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MPLS612
          Awards are irrelevant. Sales numbers dictate relevance.
        MPLS612
        • 1 Year Ago
        @AGSHOP
        Ignorance is bliss.
      Narom
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think they've been doing perfectly well without him.
      Kuro Houou
      • 1 Year Ago
      Oh no!! He designed the current 3 and 4 series :( And Mazda was doing so good before.. this is horrible news!!
        Carmaker1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Kuro Houou
        No he did not! The F30 was designed by Christopher Weil in 2009 and the 4-Series coupe by Nico Huet in 2010. Read between the lines rather than strictly taking the word of journalists and bloggers.
          The Wasp
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Carmaker1
          Cars -- even those so uninspired as BMWs -- are not designed strictly by one person. The AB posts says this guy worked on them -- you are saying he didn't. Read between the lines, I guess?
      mikeybyte1
      • 1 Year Ago
      I feel the latest 3 and 4 series cars are the least attractive for that line from BMW. In like 20 years. I know they had to account for pedestrian crash safety standards, but it is just so ungainly looking up front. And it's not just pictures. I have seen them in person. It's like two big hands smushed the front end down ahead of the wheels. The latest Mazdas are very attractive. Let's hope he does indeed keep them moving forward in design, and not backward.
        Carmaker1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikeybyte1
        The exterior appearance of both the current 3-series and 4-series isn't strictly related to Kevin Rice, as he isn't responsible for them from sketch to clay. That would be Chris Weil and Nico Huet under Adrian van Hooydonk during 2009-2010. Neither are those three responsible for what design engineers made the F30 and F32 become at their design freezes.
      imag
      • 1 Year Ago
      I hope his approach to wheel arches has changed. The NC Miata and the RX8 were both ruined by dorky wheel arches. Really, Mazda should trust whatever team designed the latest round of Kodo vehicles. They are doing so well...
      James John
      • 1 Year Ago
      These "designer looks" look ridiculous. It looks as fake as a $3 bill.
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