Ex-Lincoln Design Boss Shows up at Nissan

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

That didn’t take long. After six years spent crafting the design language of Lincoln’s growing stable of vehicles, design director David Woodhouse abruptly resigned earlier this week. The 50-year-old’s connection with parent Ford Motor Company was a long one — 20 years, since his days at Ford’s Premier Automotive Group.

The mystery as to where Woodhouse would land next is over. On Friday, Nissan announced the former Lincoln designer will go to town on the next generation of the brand’s vehicles.

Starting July 1st, Woodhouse will set up shop in San Diego as the new vice president of Nissan Design America. He’ll also have a seat on the company’s Global Nissan Design Management Committee.

Maybe a new eye for style will help the automaker (and especially its Infiniti division) turn around what’s become a grim situation. Nissan needs all the help it can get.

“David’s talent, leadership and vision will ensure that NDA shapes an exciting future for the Infiniti and Nissan brands as well as groundbreaking user experience concepts for our customers for years to come,” said Alfonso Albaisa, Nissan’s senior vice president of global design.

At Lincoln, Woodhouse helped usher in a new era of subdued elegance and visual refinement that marked a departure from past efforts. His stamp can be found on the Continental-esque corporate grille and European lines found on the brand’s new crop of products. Time will tell in what direction Woodhouse takes Nissan and Infiniti.

[Image: Lincoln Motor Company]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Stodge Stodge on Jun 14, 2019

    Did he design the MKZ? I actually really like its exterior. Its side profile is one of my favourite. Let's not mention the Ford interior....

    • Lie2me Lie2me on Jun 14, 2019

      I think he inherited the MKZ, but the 2017 facelift would have been under him

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Jun 14, 2019

    Sounds like he got head hunted. Good for him. Not sure where he lived working for Ford, but it's a safe bet it was somewhere around Detroit. Detroit to San Diego is a nice upgrade. Nissan could use the design help, but they really need help with someone either getting the CVT right, or getting rid of it straightaway.

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    • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jun 15, 2019

      @Luke42 Luke, listen, forget about big cities near Silicon Valley - there is nothing good about them. They are dirty, smelly, drug addicts and mentally ill are everywhere. You cannot just live inside your bubble and pretend that problems do not exist. Just rent apartment or town home in suburbs and find a good job. I came here with only $10K in cash in my pocket to jump start new life and now own over million dollar home. And that not counting IRAs, investments and stocks. You can do it if you want just need to have a passion, will to work hard long hours and weekends.

  • Cimarron typeR Cimarron typeR on Jun 14, 2019

    that's all fine and dandy to hire him as I think he's talented , but I agree with jkross22. Nissan's problems are with their powertrains

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Jun 14, 2019

    Agree on the CVT. I wouldn't want a Nissan with the CVT especially when it cost 4k to 6k to replace it. I will pass on any Nissan.

    • Luke42 Luke42 on Jun 15, 2019

      I really like the CVT in our Civic, and I liked the E-CVT in our Prius as well. CVTs solve the problem of fixing the mismatch between engines and wheels. I also really liked the manual transmissions I drove for my first 250k miles or so. Step-shift automatic transmissions are my least favorite. They're kind of a worst of both worlds, though electronic control helps a lot! My all-time favorite drivetrains are electric, though. It's typically just a straight reduction gear, with no natural vibration anywhere. Smooth and quiet! My favorite driving experience is electric, followed by CVT/ECVT, followed by a manual gearbox, and lastly everything else. Alas, "everything else" vehicles are bloody useful for getting me through my day, so I use them. I can't speak to Nissan's driving experience, but CVTs are really good when done right!