Europe’s most important automotive group has a new designer for its core brand.
VW has announced that a Slovakian will become the company’s new chief designer, an appointment which will be hugely important as the German business attempts perhaps the most ambitious vehicle electrification strategy in history.
The man who will oversee and direct all future design work for VW, starting in January 2020, is Jozef Kabaň. And for the 46-year old Slovakian, it completes an interesting career orbit.
Kabaň trained in his native Slovakia before moving to London for advanced study at London’s Royal College of Art. He started his car designing career at VW, back in the 1990s. Kabaň’s first notable promotion was a move to Audi, in 2003.
By 2007, Kabaň was entrusted with all exterior design at Audi – at a time when the German premium brand was producing some of its most revered work.
As one would expect of somebody with strong Slovak roots, Kabaň spent a long time at VW’s Skoda sub-brand, working as design chief from 2008-2017.
In 2018 Kabaň defected to BMW to become head of design. He was soon moved to BMW’s British luxury division, Rolls-Royce, but his tenure here was short. Kabaň only remained with Rolls-Royce for less than half a year.
VW has now managed to reemploy one of its most experienced and daring designs. For Kabaň the challenge will be to translate classic VW design simplicity and values to a range of new electric vehicles which will have radically different proportions and packaging.
There can be little doubt regarding Kabaň’s design credential or talent. He was responsible for the exterior design of the Bugatti Veyron.