For many designers, a career at Audi is considered to be the crowning achievement of a career. But now, a prominent Audi designer has jumped ship: Achim Badstübner, who headed Audi’s exterior design before he was moved to oversee the Munich Design Studio in April, is leaving the brand to lead exterior design at Mercedes-Benz. He will start working in Stuttgart on January 1.
Badstübner has shaped some of the most successful cars that Audi has ever made. His influence is visible in the current A6, and he was responsible for forward-looking concepts like the Urban concept or the all-electric A2. His A7 Sportback concept, which previewed the A7, was a cleaner and more contemporary interpretation of the actual production car. His 2011 show cars, supported and encouraged by former board member Michael Dick, seemed to provide a less juvenile look at the future of mobility than this year’s Frankfurt concepts.
In the past, Badstübner was one of the most public faces at Audi Design. His departure comes 18 months after Stefan Sielaff—another long-standing, high-profile designer at Audi—left Ingolstadt to lead the Volkswagen Group’s interior design. Some familiar faces are disappearing at Audi.
At Mercedes, it will be Badstübner’s task to oversee the exterior design of Benz’s future portfolio. “He will fit in perfectly,” Mercedes chief designer Gorden Wagener tells us, emphasizing that “exterior design really is the core of a brand.” Adding, “On principle, it is very rare that we will hire an outside person for such a central role, especially as we internally have great talents. If it wouldn’t be Achim, we would not have done it.”
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Badstübner is expected to form a congenial team with the head of Benz’s interior design, Hartmut Sinkwitz, who has his work cut out for him. “We will build the best interiors, a class ahead of the competition, in every segment from now on,” Wagener told us earlier this year. That’s not just talk, either, as evidenced by the insides of the new C-class and S-class.
Mercedes-Benz won’t waver from its design strategy of “sensual purity,” which contrasts with Audi’s more technical and “cold” approach. But Wagener’s aim is clear: beat Ingolstadt.
Source : https://blog.caranddriver.com/head-of-audis-munich-design-studio-to-oversee-mercedes-exterior-design/