Land Rover’s Design Expert Joins Audi as New Boss

Audi’s future cars to ditch unnecessary details, according to Massimo Frascella

Having completed a decade as the head of Audi design, Marc Lichte has decided to move on to a new position within the company, although the details have not been disclosed yet. Beginning June 1, Massimo Frascella, known for his notable work on designs such as the Land Rover Defender, Discovery, Velar, and Range Rover, will be in charge of the styling of all upcoming models in the Audi fleet, including those that are electric.

Audi intends to introduce solely electric vehicles by 2026. While the current designs of combustion models scheduled for launch before this date have been established, Massimo Frascella will focus on creating zero-emission models. However, this doesn’t imply that traditional ICE cars will be disregarded entirely; the company still has plans for updates and improvements for their gasoline, diesel, and plug-in hybrid models. Audi has declared their commitment to producing conventionally powered vehicles until 2032.

What can we anticipate from the new Head of Audi Design? According to him, his goal is to create vehicles that are “devoid of unnecessary embellishments and do not simply conform to current fads.” He further asserts that upcoming models will be enhanced by “a timeless and refined design style.” Gernot Döllner, the company’s CEO, expresses his confidence in Massimo Frascella’s ability to craft an “unmistakable and emotive design language.”

Audi has been offering sneak peeks of its upcoming models through a series of “Sphere” concepts. The latest one, the Grandsphere, is expected to make its debut as an electric vehicle and take over as the successor to the A8 in the full-size luxury sedan segment. Along with this, there have been other fascinating concepts such as the Skysphere, a convertible model, the Urbansphere, resembling a minivan, and the Activesphere, a high-riding fastback that may eventually evolve into a pickup truck.

The question of whether Frascella’s influence will be evident in the production cars inspired by these concepts remains to be answered. Regardless of the outcome, the 52-year-old Italian designer, who has a background with Bertone, Ford, and Kia, has expressed a preference for “simplicity.” This suggests that Audi’s approach to design will likely differ from that of their competitor, BMW, known for their extravagant designs.

Frascella faces a challenging mission as Audi’s lineup has expanded significantly in recent years. However, there are plans for model reductions. The TT has been phased out and the R8 will also be discontinued next month, while the A1 and Q2 will not see another generation.

In other locations, a high-end sports utility vehicle featuring three rows of seating, possibly named Q9, is nearly guaranteed to rival the BMW X7 and Mercedes GLS. Additionally, the completely electric Q6 E-Tron is scheduled for release in 2024, with a stylish Sportback variant following shortly after.

Source: Audi

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