Mazda Design Chief Franz Von Holzhausen Talks on Design, Style

by : Kraig Johanssen

AutoblogGreen writers recently got the chance to hear the Chief of Mazda's US design team, Franz von Holzhausen, give an insight into the style and design culture at Mazda. Though the name sounds like a European stylist, Holzhausen was born in Simsbury, Connecticut and is now based in California.

He reveals that specific models and concepts at Mazda are taken from nature with designs that are more likely flowing and organic than the blocky shapes seen in most production cars today. But in his designs, Mazda's persistent "Zoom, Zoom" philosophy, as always, will continue to play a big role in the designs of future automobiles. More RWD and AWD models will be coming in the lineup, and there will also be a departure from its current range, plus greater highlights on interiors, too.

For the past 2 years, Franz has been the US Chief of Design for Mazda and is working out of their Irvine, CA design center, one of three design centers Mazda that has, the others being in Europe and in Japan.

An Autoblog writer describes this designer as young, informal and tall. Accordingly, he also resembles a southern California surfer. But when he speaks, according to the writer, he really speaks of design.

For the past few years, the Mazda corporate theme has been "Zoom, Zoom". And since then, the company is delivering the motto with attractive exterior design, quality interior design, and excellent engine performance as well as handling. And because of this, Mazda is growing in worth and in sales in the market, which is a good thing for a firm in the Ford family of nameplates.

Franz talked about the show cars that were recently displayed at different auto shows. Like what he revealed on Mazda designs, each car he discussed was as organic rather than geometric or on steroids as some "muscular" production vehicles look today. The cars' designs are flowing and integrated but not really ergonomic. Each car will be a front engine, rear or all wheel drive vehicle, a departure from the front wheel drive of most existing Mazda vehicles.

These designs will likely be a starting point for future Mazda cars that have to comply with the new US Energy bill (with targets of 35mpg proposed for cars and trucks by 2020) when it gets passed. The industry still has to wait as to how green the cars would be.

About Mazda

Mazda's vision is to create new value, excitement and delight to their customers through the best automotive products and services. Their mission is to actively communicate with passion, pride and speed with their customers to deliver insightful automotive products and services that exceed their expectations. Aside from making sure that each is quality based, the company values integrity, customer focus, creativity, efficiency and nimble actions and respects highly motivated people and team spirit. It positively spurs environmental matters, safety and society.