Ford Hires Cadillac Design Boss to Recreate Lincoln Brand Image

Ford Hires Cadillac Design Boss to Recreate Lincoln Brand Image
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Cadillac has had had a great deal of success over the past several years, with a turnaround that has been marked by vehicles that stand out in the marketplace. Meanwhile, Caddy’s cross-town rivals at Lincoln have faltered, producing luxury vehicles that have failed to capture the attention of consumers.

So with Ford planning numerous new Lincoln vehicles over the next few years, the brand is looking for a design to match what it believes is an all-new Lincoln inside, and under the hood. So what better way to do that than to hire the chief designer at rival Cadillac, Max Wolff?

Wolff, who made a name for himself at GM of Australia’s Holden division was more recently the head of Cadillac’s exterior design team and is responsible for the current CTS sedan and its offshoots like the CTS Coupe and Sportwagon. That design is also likely to inspire the rest of the Cadillac brand for years to come.

“Hiring a Lincoln design director with global experience was a given,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company. “Max Wolff brings a fresh perspective that will challenge us internally and take Lincoln to new levels of prestige.”

Wolff will lead the Lincoln design team during an important time for the brand, designing “seven all-new or significantly refreshed vehicles in the next four years,” including the the brand’s first ever compact car.

Official release after the jump:

PRESS RELEASE

COMMITMENT TO LINCOLN STRENGTHENS WITH ADDITION OF EXPERIENCED NEW DESIGN DIRECTOR

– Max Wolff joins Lincoln as director of Design, effective Jan. 3, bringing extensive global perspective and luxury design experience in line with the brand’s plans to deliver world-class luxury

– Wolff joins a growing list of Lincoln top managers with global professional experience; his includes assignments in Asia, Europe and North America

– Lincoln’s plan accelerates with more investment and attention to standout product design, class-leading technology and powertrains delivering top performance and fuel efficiency

DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 1, 2010 – Lincoln today announced an important next in its growth into a world-class luxury brand with the addition of a dedicated Design director to help shape the brand’s future. Max Wolff, 38, joins Lincoln with luxury and global automotive design experience that has taken him from Australia to Asia and America.

“Hiring a Lincoln design director with global experience was a given,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company. “Max Wolff brings a fresh perspective that will challenge us internally and take Lincoln to new levels of prestige.”

Wolff most recently worked for General Motors, where he was Design director, Cadillac Exterior.

During his career with General Motors, Max held key design positions including assignments in the U.S. with Cadillac, in Australia with Holden and in Korea with GM Daewoo.

Wolff joins a growing list of Lincoln top managers, which include C.J. O’Donnell, Lincoln Group marketing manager, and Scott Tobin, Lincoln director of Product Development, with global experience. All have lived and worked in Asia, Europe and North America.

“Max’s drive, talent and knowledge of automotive design within the premium segment of the market make him a great addition to the global design team.” said J Mays, chief creative officer and Ford Motor Company’s group vice president of Design. “He is a recognized design leader and has a successful track record in the development of production and concept vehicles, including the Holden SSX show car.”

A graduate of Monash University in Victoria, Australia, Wolff will report to Moray Callum, Ford Motor Company’s executive director of Design, The Americas. He will help the Lincoln team expand and enhance its brand lineup, which will include seven all-new or significantly refreshed vehicles in the next four years and its first-ever C-segment vehicle.

Lincoln’s hallmarks will be refined, modern design, the most fuel-efficient premium powertrains and industry-leading technology that create a unique driver experience both in the cabin and on the road. The future of Lincoln is building from a strong base that includes the flagship MKS large sedan, the significantly freshened 2011 MKX crossover, the MKT seven-passenger crossover and a significantly refreshed MKZ midsize sedan with a hybrid powertrain.

“Working with a young, motivated and internationally experienced team with the opportunity of taking a brand to the next level is very exciting, as is the opportunity to work with J Mays and Moray Callum,” said Wolff.