Tony O'Kane | Aug 5, 2008

Franz von Holzhausen may not be a name most of you will instantly recognise, but if you've been paying attention to Mazda's recent (and striking) concept cars like the Furai, Taiki and Nagare then you'll no doubt be familiar with the designer's work.

He's been responsible for the styling of every concept and production car for Mazda North America since early 2005 and up until last Thursday he was Director of Design at the Japanese automaker's Californian bureau. That's all history though, and from here on in von Holzhausen will be dictating the design direction for one of the newest players on the automotive market: Tesla Motors.

Tesla Chairman Elon Musk specifically hunted down von Holzhausen to get him to work his magic on the company's upcoming offerings, an all-electric sedan and a sport compact to complement the existing Lotus-designed Roadster (below).

Tesla Roadster While von Holzhausen's Mazda concepts may not have won everyone over with their radical curves and intertwined creases, the move by Musk to bring Tesla's design in-house will no doubt pay dividends in terms of establishing a unique image for the brand.

Von Holzhausen will now be responsible for putting together Tesla's new design team, a team which he says will, "turn the world on its ear and create high demand through design."

Speaking to Car Design News, von Holzhausen also expressed optimism for Tesla's new direction, "there is a new hunger in the air for automotive design and looking to where automobiles are going in the future. Tesla will capture this through good design and engineering."

"I'm looking forward to working at a new startup company that doesn't have the confines of a large OEM... It's going to be an exciting adventure."

[Car Design News]

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