The design team at Mazda North America is set to take on a new chief shortly with former Volkswagen ink-man Derek Jenkins stepping up to take the reigns.
No stranger to the game, Jenkins has spent the last 15 years working for the Volkswagen group. In this time he worked on the Audi A8, Audi A2 City car and the highly arresting Iroc Concept which went on to become the VW Scirocco.
Mazda's design studio has also won plaudits for its style direction having turned out attention-grabbing vehicles such as the Mazda Furai and Nagare concepts as well as the latest 2010 Mazda3 and Mazda6.
Mazda already has Jenkin's schedule filled as he will be a key player in migrating the design language of the Mazda Nagare Concept to the next range of Mazda vehicles.
Exciting times ahead at Mazda North America then. It will be interesting to see the next wave of Mazda concepts with Jenkins at the helm.
For more information on Derek Jenkins and the Mazda design studio in North America, hit the press release below,.
IRVINE, Calif., April 30, 2009 - Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Derek Jenkins to the position of Design Director, Mazda Design Americas (MDA).
As the former Chief of Design for Volkswagen Group North America, Jenkins is credited with numerous concept and production vehicles including the Audi A2, A8 and Volkswagen Scirocco concept. Prior to joining VW in 2000, he held various design roles at both VW and Audi, both in North America and abroad.
"Derek's intimate knowledge and understanding of the North American market, combined with his wealth of experience after having spent 15 successful years at VW & Audi, are going to be a tremendous asset for the Mazda Design team," said Robert Davis, Senior Vice President, Product Development and Quality, MNAO. "He will help us transition our Nagare design philosophy from concept to reality."
In his new role as Design Director, Jenkins oversees a staff of about 25, which pushes creative boundaries by developing advanced ideas for Mazda's next generation of cars. The Irvine-based team is credited with the Kabura, Nagare and Furai concept cars, as well as the new 2009 MAZDA6 and 2010 MAZDA3.
A graduate of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., Jenkins, 39, enjoys surfing, running and motorcycling, as well as restoring cars, remote control airplanes and exploring architectural and industrial design.
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico through more than 850 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.