Audi’s New Design Boss Started His Career at This Studio

Jackson Wheeler
5 Min Read

  • Massimo Frascella will take over as Head of Design at Audi in June of this year, after Marc Lichte’s decade at the helm.
  • Frascella started his career at Stile Bertone and most recently spent over a decade at Jaguar Land Rover.
  • Audi has recently made the head of the design department report directly to the Chairman of the Board of Management, elevating the importance of design within the automaker in the age of electrification.

Starting June 1 of this year, Massimo Frascella will assume the role of Head of Design at Audi, succeeding Marc Lichte who held the position since 2014.

The 52-year-old Frascella may not be an instantly recognizable name among the majority of casual car magazine readers, but he has held high positions in the industry for quite some time.

A graduate of the Istituto d`Arte Applicata & Design in Turin, be started his career at Stile Bertone, moving on to Ford and Kia later on. His most recent tenure has been at Jaguar Land Rover, which he joined in 2011, holding a number of positions including as head of design for the two brands.

“Simplicity is the essence of my approach to design,” Frascella says. “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.”

Frascella will join Audi at a time of great change in the industry, as automakers begin the transition to battery-electric models.

The current era has already seen some controversy when it comes to electric-vehicle designs, with some automakers either adopting design changes for the sake of changes, looking to Tesla for inspiration, adding obligatory flush-fitting door handles, or fielding yet another coupe-styled SUV.

“Clarity, precision, and perfect proportions are at the centre of his design philosophy.”

Audi is currently viewed as being in a safe position, having committed no unforced errors over the past decade, and having already fielded several electric models including the e-tron, e-tron GT, and the Q4 lineup—all of them styled conservatively.

Audi has also elected not to make aerodynamics the overriding factor in EV design, and also hasn’t made its electric models appear radically different from its ICE models.

So Frascella won’t be facing a design department being pulled in several new and risky directions, which is more than we can say for some of Audi’s competitors.

When it comes to corporate organizational structure, Audi has recently instituted a change to make the design department report directly to the Chairman of the Board of Management—a change that has highlighted the growing importance of design in the era of electrification.

“Design has always been part of the brand’s core, of the DNA of the Audi brand. That is why, especially during this phase of technological transformation, ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ must be visible and tangible in the interior and exterior of all coming series models,” explained Audi CEO Gernot Döllner, who took over the role from Markus Duesmann in 2023.

“Massimo Frascella will ensure Audi vehicles are going to embody the brand’s identity through an unmistakable and emotional design language,” Döllner adds. “Clarity, precision, and perfect proportions are at the centre of his design philosophy—qualities that seamlessly fit into the image of the Audi brand.”

Lichte, meanwhile, will take on a new role within the group, Audi said.

Should automakers give their EVs radically different designs compared to their ICE counterparts, or should both ICE and EV lineups appear vaguely similar on the outside? Please comment below.

Headshot of Jay Ramey

Jay Ramey grew up around very strange European cars, and instead of seeking out something reliable and comfortable for his own personal use he has been drawn to the more adventurous side of the dependability spectrum. Despite being followed around by French cars for the past decade, he has somehow been able to avoid Citroën ownership, judging them too commonplace, and is currently looking at cars from the former Czechoslovakia. Jay has been with Autoweek since 2013. 

Share This Article
Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
Leave a comment