Massimo Frascella, the man behind the rebirth of the iconic Land Rover Defender, will soon head up design for Audi.

    Overnight Audi announced Mr Frascella will become its head of design and chief creative officer on June 1, 2024. He succeeds Marc Lichte, who has headed up Audi’s design department since 2014.

    Mr Lichte will “take a new role within the [Volkswagen] group”, but the nature of this position has yet to be announced.

    It’s unclear what changes to the brand’s styling direction Mr Frascella has in mind, but in a prepared statement, he said: “Simplicity is the essence of my approach to design.

    “I am passionate about creating designs that are free from superfluous ornaments and do not merely follow trends. Instead, we will rely on a timeless and sophisticated design language.”

    It’s likely Mr Frascella’s vision will take some time to appear in showrooms. Previous design boss Marc Lichte instigated Audi’s most recent design shift, previewed by the Activesphere, Grandsphere, Skysphere and Urbansphere concepts, and which will appear in the upcoming Q6 e-tron crossover, and A6 e-tron sedan and wagon.

    After studying at the Istituto d’Arte Applicata e Design in Turin, Mr Frascella began his automotive design career at styling studio Bertone in 1997. In 2000 he joined Ford, where he worked for both the Land Rove and Lincoln Mercury divisions.

    From 2005 he took up the position of design manager at the Kia’s studios in Irvine, California, where his credits include the second-generation Sorento, third-generation Sportage, third-generation Rio, and second-generation Soul.

    He returned to England in 2011 to take the role of creative studio chief at now Tata-owned Land Rover. Mr Frascella rose through the ranks to become exterior design creative director in 2014, and overall design director in 2020, before being appointed as the design director for all of Jaguar Land Rover in 2021.

    Mr Frascella lists the second-generation Defender, second-generation Range Rover Evoque, the Range Rover Velar, third-generation Land Rover Discovery, and the Discovery Sport as vehicles he’s worked on during his 12 year stint at Jaguar Land Rover.

    MORE: Everything Audi

    Derek Fung

    Derek Fung would love to tell you about his multiple degrees, but he's too busy writing up some news right now. In his spare time Derek loves chasing automotive rabbits down the hole. Based in New York, New York, Derek loves to travel and is very much a window not an aisle person.

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