Ex-JLR design boss Massimo Frascella replaces Marc Lichte at Audi

Massimo Frascella Land Rover Defender clay model
Massimo Frascella Land Rover Defender clay model

Frascella played a key role in shaping the new Defender

Ex-Jaguar and Land Rover designer Massimo Frascella has been announced as the new head of design for Audi, replacing Marc Lichte, who has held the role for 10 years.

Frascella’s appointment at Audi comes just a month after his departure from JLR, where he had led the styling of several core model lines, including the Land Rover Discovery, Defender and Range Rover.

Prior to his arrival in Gaydon in 2011, the Italian had worked at Kia and Ford.

He takes the reins at Audi’s design studio on the cusp of a transformative era for the brand, with a wave of new electric cars and overhauled combustion models due in the coming years.


Frascella said: “Joining Audi is a very special moment for me. I'm deeply honoured to assume the role of chief creative officer and to guide such a talented team in shaping the future of the brand to new heights of innovation and distinction.

“I believe in the emotional power of design to inspire, connect and drive change, and I'm here to nurture and promote creativity as the beating heart of our brand."

He cited “simplicity” as a key pillar of his approach to car design and said he was “passionate about creating designs that are free from superfluous ornaments and do not merely follow trends”.

“Instead,” he said, “we will rely on a timeless and sophisticated design language.”

That ethos tallies neatly with that of his predecessor Lichte, who explained to Autocar in 2021 his guiding principles for designing an Audi for the modern era: “Design-wise, an Audi is very simple. It’s aesthetic intelligence, which has long been part of Audi. We’re trying to find the perfect symbiosis between innovative and progressive design.

“That’s the key to Audi: it was in the past and will remain so in the future.”

Lichte is moving into an unspecified role elsewhere in the Volkswagen Group, having been responsible for the design of Audi’s first wave of EVs and a number of as-yet unrevealed models due on sale in the coming years.

As well as being responsible hugely significant production models including the R8, A4, A6, Q8 E-tron and E-tron GT in his time as head of design, he also set the tone for Audi’s future design language with a trio of radical ‘Sphere’ concepts and recently hinted to Autocar that he was working on an electric 4x4 to rival the Defender.

Audi CEO Gernot Döllner celebrated Lichte’s influence on the company: “Together with his team, Marc Lichte shaped the evolution of the brand’s design into the age of electric mobility. We thank Marc for having been a creative mind and visionary for the face of the brand for a decade.”