New Audi design chief Massimo Frascella wants cars without “superfluous ornaments”

Audi has officially announced Massimo Frascella as its new design chief, marking a significant shift in the brand’s creative direction. Frascella, taking the reins on June 1, succeeds Marc Lichte, who has been at the helm since 2014 and will now take on a new challenge within the Volkswagen Group. With a rich background in automotive design, including pivotal roles at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Frascella is poised to steer Audi towards a future of “timeless and sophisticated” design, eschewing superfluous ornaments and fleeting trends.

Background of Massimo Frascella

  • Early Career and Education: Born with a passion for automotive design, Frascella honed his skills at the Istituto d’Arte Applicata & Design in Turin, Italy. His career trajectory saw him making influential stops at Stile Bertone, Ford, and Kia, before his significant tenure at JLR.
  • Role at JLR and Key Designs: Frascella’s creative prowess shone brightly at JLR, where he played a crucial role in shaping the iconic new Defender and Range Rover SUVs. These vehicles not only redefined their respective segments but also showcased Frascella’s ability to blend functionality with aesthetic appeal.

Marc Lichte’s Contributions to Audi

During his tenure, Lichte introduced a wave of innovation and design excellence at Audi. His vision was instrumental in crafting the brand’s current design language, emphasizing sleek lines, dynamic proportions, and advanced lighting technology. As Lichte transitions to a new role within the Volkswagen Group, his legacy of creativity and forward-thinking remains a solid foundation for Audi’s future.

Vision for Audi’s Design Future

Frascella’s design philosophy centers around creating vehicles that stand the test of time through sophistication and a rejection of unnecessary embellishments. With the automotive industry pivoting towards electric powertrains, Frascella aims to redefine vehicle shapes and functionalities, ensuring they reflect Audi’s core values of clarity, precision, and perfect proportions. This approach will likely influence Audi’s rumored plans for a rugged SUV, potentially leveraging Frascella’s experience with the Defender to compete in the luxury off-roader segment.

Comparative Analysis

The transition from Lichte to Frascella signifies a shift in Audi’s design ethos. While Lichte’s tenure was characterized by a focus on modernity and technological integration, Frascella is expected to usher in an era that prioritizes timeless elegance and refined simplicity. This pivot reflects Audi’s adaptation to changing consumer preferences and the evolving landscape of automotive design.

Audi’s Future Design Directions

Under Frascella’s guidance, Audi is anticipated to explore new design territories, particularly in how electric powertrains can inspire innovative vehicle architectures. This evolution will likely result in models that not only push the boundaries of form and function but also align with the brand’s commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.

Impact of Frascella’s Appointment on Audi

Frascella’s arrival is seen as a pivotal moment for Audi. In the short term, his influence will be observed in subtle shifts towards a more refined aesthetic. In the long run, his vision is expected to solidify Audi’s position as a leader in automotive design, blending tradition with innovation to meet the demands of a rapidly changing market.

Challenges and Opportunities

Frascella’s tenure will not be without its challenges, including navigating the complexities of electric vehicle design and responding to competitive pressures. However, these hurdles also present opportunities to redefine luxury motoring and reinforce Audi’s reputation as a purveyor of cutting-edge, aesthetically pleasing vehicles.

Industry Trends and Audi’s Position

The automotive industry is at a crossroads, with sustainability, digitalization, and personalization driving major design trends. Audi, under Frascella’s leadership, is well-positioned to capitalize on these shifts, offering vehicles that not only meet the functional needs of consumers but also resonate on an emotional level.

Expert Opinions

Industry insiders view Frascella’s appointment with optimism, citing his proven track record and visionary approach as key assets in Audi’s quest for design excellence. His ability to anticipate and incorporate future trends is expected to keep Audi at the forefront of automotive innovation.

Future Models to Watch

Audi enthusiasts have much to look forward to, with several models in the pipeline that will bear Frascella’s design signature. While specifics remain under wraps, the expectation is for a lineup that blends performance, luxury, and environmental consciousness in equal measure.

Audi’s Rivalry in the Luxury Segment

The luxury automotive market is fiercely competitive, with brands constantly vying for supremacy. Frascella’s leadership is seen as a strategic advantage for Audi, enabling it to offer distinctive, compelling vehicles that stand out in a crowded field.

Sustainability in Design

Sustainability is set to play a central role in Audi’s future designs, with Frascella championing eco-friendly materials and production methods. This commitment to environmental stewardship is expected to resonate with consumers increasingly concerned about their ecological footprint.

Consumer Expectations

Audi fans eagerly anticipate Frascella’s influence, hoping for designs that merge innovation with the brand’s storied heritage. The expectation is for vehicles that deliver exceptional performance, unparalleled comfort, and, above all, a strong aesthetic identity.


Massimo Frascella’s appointment as Audi’s new design chief heralds a new chapter for the brand, promising a future where elegance, innovation, and sustainability converge. As Audi navigates the challenges and opportunities ahead, Frascella’s vision will undoubtedly play a critical role in shaping its destiny, ensuring that Audi continues to set the standard in automotive design.


  1. What is Massimo Frascella’s design philosophy?
    • Frascella aims for timeless, sophisticated designs that avoid unnecessary decorations and do not chase trends.
  2. How will electric powertrains influence Audi’s future designs?
    • Electric powertrains will inspire new shapes and functionalities, emphasizing clarity, precision, and perfect proportions.
  3. What can we expect from Audi under Frascella’s leadership?
    • Expect designs that blend tradition with innovation, focusing on elegance, sustainability, and the brand’s core values.
  4. How does Frascella’s background prepare him for this role?
    • His experience at JLR, particularly with the Defender and Range Rover, equips him with a unique perspective on blending functionality with design aesthetics.
  5. What makes Frascella’s approach different from his predecessor’s?
    • While Marc Lichte focused on modernity and tech integration, Frascella is expected to prioritize timeless elegance and simplicity.