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Ford hires Cadillac designer to reshape Lincoln
Automotive News
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Jamie LaReau
December 1, 2010

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. has hired a 38-year-old designer from Cadillac to shape Lincoln's future and compete with bigger luxury rivals.

Max Wolff, a native of Australia, will be Lincoln's design director, a new position, effective Jan. 3.

He comes in the wake of Ford's pledge to deliver seven “new or significantly improved” vehicles to its sole luxury brand in the next four years.

Wolff has been design director for Cadillac exteriors since 2007. At General Motors Co., Wolff has held various positions in design, including a stint in South Korea at GM Daewoo Auto & Technology. There, Wolff helped design the Chevrolet Cruze compact. He started his career at GM's Australia unit, GM Holden Ltd., in 1998.

He will report to Moray Callum, Ford's executive director of design for the Americas, the automaker said today.

Wolff joins a growing management team at Lincoln who share global experience. C.J. O'Donnell, Lincoln's group marketing manager, and Scott Tobin, Lincoln's director of product development, have also worked in Asia, Europe and North America.

“Hiring a Lincoln design director with global experience was a given,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford's group vice president of global product development, in a statement. “Max Wolff brings a fresh perspective that will challenge us internally and take Lincoln to new levels of prestige.”

Lagging sales gains

Lincoln is Ford’s only luxury brand after the sales of Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin in recent years. As recently as 1998, Lincoln was the best-selling luxury marque in the United States.

Through November, Lincoln sold 77,768 vehicles in the United States, up 7.4 percent from a year-earlier but not enough to gain share. Mercedes, Lexus and BMW each sell more than twice as many U.S. vehicles as Lincoln does. The brand also trails Cadillac, Acura, Infiniti, and Audi.

In October, Ford executives told Lincoln dealers it will eliminate at least 200 dealerships in the top 130 metro markets in the next year or so in an effort to increase per-store sales. Lincoln has about 1,200 U.S. dealerships.

In June, Ford said it will discontinue the Mercury brand by Dec. 31 while steering more resources into rebuilding Lincoln.

Refined features

One of the seven planned new Lincolns is expected to be a small crossover that would share Ford’s global compact car platform.


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So now Ford has design for the Americas signed up , one former Hyundai and Mercedes-Benz designer Joel Piaskowski as head of exterior design for Ford in the Americas
& now an X Cadillac lad to head up Lincoln.
 

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I am not sure about this . . . a Lame-on-wheels Cruze designer?? hmmm
That is what I was thinking...

Lincoln needs to be bold!
 

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I am not sure about this . . . a Lame-on-wheels Cruze designer?? hmmm
I agree with you, Sobe. i think a Cadillac designer was a brilliant idea, but when i read the article and note that is the Cruze designer, i feel sick. I hope some Cadillac actual cars charm come from this guy.

lincoln need desperatly a new design languaje and distintive details to survive.
 

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This might be what Lincoln needs. New ideas would be refreshing. The current twin grill is nice and now the rest of the car will look better too and not just a fancy Ford Fusion or Taurus. How soon before we get a Trend-Setting look? It's 1961 all over again.
 

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He also had an influence in the CTS Coupe, which I think may have been a more important consideration than the Cruze effort, because it demonstrates a willingness to make something distinctly American. You wouldn't see something like the CTS Coupe coming out of Europe.

Conceptually Lincoln is doing a solid job of delivering an American Luxury vehicle range. It's only appropriate that they now look American......rather than Mysticetian.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
He also had an influence in the CTS Coupe, which I think may have been a more important consideration than the Cruze effort, because it demonstrates a willingness to make something distinctly American. You wouldn't see something like the CTS Coupe coming out of Europe.

Conceptually Lincoln is doing a solid job of delivering an American Luxury vehicle range. It's only appropriate that they now look American......rather than Mysticetian.
Couldn't possibly agree more with your opinion.
 

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Some folks here do not understand that a car is not designed by one person. He may be the lead designer on a project, but not the only designer. Its a team effort.
 

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Some folks here do not understand that a car is not designed by one person. He may be the lead designer on a project, but not the only designer. Its a team effort.
otoh NDW, inspired by a convo elsewhere, I'd like to start a rumor:

Mr. Wolff = the GRwdP is being (has BEEN) GREENLIGHTED!



otooh
hiring talent away from rivals doesn't mean you intend to use those talents yourself
 

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I just hope he has the money needed to carry out the bold designs he is capable of.

I caught the Lincoln/Australia link also 2b2...A Lincoln version of the next gen Falcon seems a step closer.

ndwariga...we know design is a group effort, but the lead designer sets the requirements and expectations of the design. He is not just a lead designer for a project...he is lead designer for the whole Lincoln division.
 

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ndwariga...we know design is a group effort, but the lead designer sets the requirements and expectations of the design. He is not just a lead designer for a project...he is lead designer for the whole Lincoln division.
Bingo! Some folks here don't seem to understand that . . .
 

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I just hope he has the money needed to carry out the bold designs he is capable of.

I caught the Lincoln/Australia link also 2b2...A Lincoln version of the next gen Falcon seems a step closer.

ndwariga...we know design is a group effort, but the lead designer sets the requirements and expectations of the design. He is not just a lead designer for a project...he is lead designer for the whole Lincoln division.
Bingo! Some folks here don't seem to understand that . . .
Lets give him a chance
 

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I wonder if he is going to push to scrap the split wing grille or evolve it
 

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The twin wing grill is fine but can be refined. All it needs is to have the rest of the car look better then everything flows. I hope we can get a modern version of the classic spare tire on the decklid again. I know everyone here for the most part will disagree but it would add a more distinguished look to the Lincoln cars rear. Cadillac is doing a modern take on the tail fin with the tail lights so why not do a spare tire decklid for Lincoln?

Didn't Ford hire GM designers after WW2 for Lincoln? I remember reading this somewhere.
 

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The twin wing grill is fine but can be refined. All it needs is to have the rest of the car look better then everything flows. I hope we can get a modern version of the classic spare tire on the decklid again. I know everyone here for the most part will disagree but it would add a more distinguished look to the Lincoln cars rear. Cadillac is doing a modern take on the tail fin with the tail lights so why not do a spare tire decklid for Lincoln?

Didn't Ford hire GM designers after WW2 for Lincoln? I remember reading this somewhere.
I agree with the spare but those really only appeared on the Marks.... I am not sure how I would feel if they were on all of them
 
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