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Ford and Lincoln designer leaves to head Nissan North America design

 
Old 06-13-19, 01:44 PM
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Default Ford and Lincoln designer leaves to head Nissan North America design

Man who led the charge on Navigator, Aviator starts a new revitalization project


Last Friday, David Woodhouse suddenly resigned from his dual positions as Ford's director of global strategic design and director of Lincoln design. In a post not long after leaving, he praised the efforts of his former team over the past six years he headed design at Lincoln. Among other products, that crew gave us the redesigned Navigator, the Continental concept and production sedan, and the Aviator concept and production crossover. Car Design News reports Woodhouse traded Michigan for California, taking the role of VP at Nissan Design America in San Diego. He officially assumes the position July 1, and will also serve on the Japanese automaker's Global Nissan Design Management Committee.

Woodhouse has spent more than 25 years in the design department, starting with BMW and work on the Mini and Range Rover brands, followed by a brief stint with Cadillac of Europe. For the past 20 years he's been with Ford, coming on board with the Ford's former luxury arm known as the Premier Automotive Group — Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, Volvo and Lincoln.

He became Lincoln's design director in 2013, introducing the world to the design language labeled "quiet flight." He described the language's details as "anti-wedge body gestures, S-curves wherever possible, and an emphasis on horizontal lines at every opportunity to create leaner, longer, wider emphasis on the exteriors, and create equilibrium, balance, and calmness on the interiors." A much shorter way to describe it is: revitalized Lincolns. The U.S. luxury maker's new and overhauled products have been praised for their lines by critics and by paying customers. The brand's done so well it's hard to remember when the MKC concept was a revelation, and that goes on Woodhouse's résumé, too.

That's some special juju to take to Nissan, where Woodhouse will lead both Nissan and Infiniti design focused on the North American region. Nissan has a solid if uninspiring lineup that sells well here, while Infiniti, as the luxury brand, is the bigger issue. Infiniti sedans glide on the contrails of a design language more than 10 years old. The money-making crossovers and SUVs haven't made a splash in about the same time, since the long-ago FX45. Nissan's plan to update 70 percent of its lineup over the next few years and Infiniti's transition to an all-electric brand makes right now the perfect time to break into riveting designs for the street.

Woodhouse replaces Taro Ueda, who moves into a global role with Nissan. The new VP will report to Alfonso Albaisa, SVP of global design at Nissan.
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Old 06-13-19, 01:49 PM
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Hope he left some good people to carry on his work at Ford.
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Old 06-13-19, 01:59 PM
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Ford (particularly Lincoln) has some excellent people in design.....what is needed is better marketing, particularly for sedans.
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Old 06-13-19, 01:59 PM
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Lincoln finally gets an amazing design direction, and the guy behind it leaves :/
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Old 06-13-19, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Hoovey2411 View Post
Lincoln finally gets an amazing design direction, and the guy behind it leaves :/

He's done enough good, though, that we'll see the effects of it for some time, particularly with the new Aviator and Corsair, which haven't even been released yet.....but they're coming.


Last edited by mmarshall; 06-13-19 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 06-13-19, 05:19 PM
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Given the fact that Woodhouse is leaving Ford for Nissan, let's hope that he doesn't end up in a situation where he ends up butting heads with upper management in what is a less-than-ideal management structure there. After all, this is the company that Renault (and Carlos Ghosn) ran for years...and we know now, with Ghosn's departure, that it was done less than honestly. Ghosn has been arrested twice in the last six months for misusing company funds, and had to be bailed out of jail. Nissan/Infiniti vehicles have also had QC problems for years, and some of them need significant improvement in the way they are built and inspected at the plants.
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Old 06-14-19, 09:53 AM
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I am hopeful that this will re-energize the infiniti lineup.
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Old 06-14-19, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by mmarshall View Post
Given the fact that Woodhouse is leaving Ford for Nissan, let's hope that he doesn't end up in a situation where he ends up butting heads with upper management in what is a less-than-ideal management structure there. After all, this is the company that Renault (and Carlos Ghosn) ran for years...and we know now, with Ghosn's departure, that it was done less than honestly. Ghosn has been arrested twice in the last six months for misusing company funds, and had to be bailed out of jail. Nissan/Infiniti vehicles have also had QC problems for years, and some of them need significant improvement in the way they are built and inspected at the plants.
I see no reason why Mr. Woodhouse would run into problems with senior management at Nissan. Nissan's problems, in my opinion, are not caused by Nissan's senior management but by the control that Renault and especially Carlos Ghosn (who, by all accounts, was not an easy person to get along with) tried to place on Nissan.

In this recent FCA-Renault merger proposal, for example, it seemed that Renault did not give Nissan adequate notification of the proposal, and were it not for the French government representative on Renault's board of directors requesting Nissan's input, Nissan may have been led kicking and screaming by Renault.
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Old 06-14-19, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Sulu View Post
I see no reason why Mr. Woodhouse would run into problems with senior management at Nissan.
The auto industry, though, is notorious for head-butting. Look at VW....a perfect example. When Ferdinand Piech was running the company, who foresaw in advance that he would force his managers and engineers to break the law, if necessary, to cheat on diesel-emission numbers?

Yet, perhaps, to some extent, it was inevitable. I think I mentioned this once, some time ago, but I'll re-post it in case you didn't see it or don't remember it. Bob Lutz of GM, in an article he wrote for Road and Track magazine, speaks of the time he attended a dinner given for auto-industry CEOs and executives. By the luck of the draw, he ended up sitting next to Peich. He told Peich he was impressed by the good fit/finish and close panel-fit he saw on the latest Golf/Jetta, and asked him how he did it while staying in a strict budget. "Ah, Mr, Lutz", said Piech..."You like those panel-fits? It was actually very simple. I called a meeting of all of my (applicable) managers and engineers and told them....I'm sick and tired of looking at sloppily-built vehicles coming out of our plants. I've got all of your names and jobs on record. You have six weeks to start producing better results. If, after six weeks, I don't see any improvement, you can all turn in your resignations, and I will replace you". Brutal but effective...Lutz obviously couldn't run GM that way.
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