By on February 8, 2017

Skoda octavia Jozef Kabaň

BMW has chosen former Volkswagen stylist Jozef Kaban to head design for its core brand. After Karim Habib’s exodus from the company last month, BMW found itself missing an essential portion of its product planning department.

Kaban, 44, has been an important part of Volkswagen AG’s styling department. Most famous for his early work designing Bugatti’s Veyron, he was later responsible for the less-exciting Volkswagen Lupo and Seat Arosa. He also modeled the current generation Škoda Octavia — possibly after having a fever dream about modernizing the Lincoln LS.

During his time at Volkswagen, Kaban was moved to Audi in 2003 and eventually became the brand’s exterior design chief in 2007. The following year he left VW to become chief of exterior design at Škoda. Interestingly, BMW’s official announcement did not make mention of his many years at the Volkswagen-owned Czech automobile manufacturer.

The automaker also promoted Domagoj Dukec, 41, to take over design responsibilities at BMW’s electric i-brand and its M performance division.

“I am looking forward to this strengthening of the BMW Group design team,” said Group chief designer Adrian van Hooydonk. “Both Jozef Kabaň and Domagoj Dukec bring the experience, talent and vision we need for the future direction of our design.”

[Image: Škoda Auto]

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9 Comments on “BMW’s Replacement Design Head has Arrived from Škoda...”

  • avatar

    This is unexpected but sounds like exactly what BMW needs to return to the efficient, attractive lines of yesteryear. Skoda is almost brutalist in it’s simplicity so hopefully it can tame some of BMWs recent forays into ‘spacefish’ territory.

    • 0 avatar

      Totally agree.

      BMW designs used to be clean, yet aggressive-looking, but for the past 2 decades, have done away with the clean lines up front and instead, ruined the headlight shapes (bulbous and derpy), as well as the kidney grill.

      The new 5 and 7 Series are an improvement up front over their predecessors, but still lacking (we didn’t get the worst BMW front-end, the 1 Series hatch which looked like the pigs from the “Angry Birds” game).

  • avatar

    So…BMW thinks the future of sedans is a generic look. Okay.

    • 0 avatar

      Having clean, aggressive lines doesn’t = “generic looking.”

      Case in point the front of the i8 (the best front design BMW has done in recent years) or go back to the likes of the 8 Series, the Z8 or the E46 3 Series.

  • avatar

    The Veyron is gaudy, which I’ll admit might be the point. Skodas are just VW/Audis with different trims. Still decent, but BMW need to be special and unique. He has challenge because the internet will scream with complaints if they find some little detail they don’t like.

  • avatar
    Demon Something

    Honestly, the Lupo was a very nice VW design. Nice and clean.

  • avatar

    Wow, they found a guy from the one brand that is even more boring than BMW. Good luck!

    People hated on the “flame surfaced” Bimmers but they have aged nicely and look way better than the current crop.

    • 0 avatar

      I’d say the E36-E39-E38 generation have aged the best of the last 30 years, in looks, if not material quality.

      An E38 still looks sharp, where a flame surfaced 5er has a whiff of hood rich about it.

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