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Bugatti Veyron Designer Joins Volkswagen After Leaving Rolls-Royce

Jozef Kaban, the man who designed one of the auto industry’s landmark cars, the Bugatti Veyron, has finally returned to his old stomping grounds at Volkswagen.

After a stint at Rolls-Royce that so short he wouldn’t have found the tea bags, Kaban is returning to head up design for the Volkswagen car brand in Wolfsburg, Germany.

Former Volkswagen brand design boss, Klaus Bischoff, was bumped upstairs to Head of Volkswagen Group Design, with a remit covering Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Bugatti, Skoda, Seat, Lamborghini, Ducati and, of course, Volkswagen. He takes over from Michael Mauer, who will focus on his original role as head of Porsche design.

The 47-year-old Kaban joined Volkswagen for the first time in 1993, which lead to him designing the exterior of the Veyron EB16.4, a car widely considered to be one of the automotive technical benchmarks of all time.

The 1001-horsepower (736kW) Veyron shattered all previous ideas of what a supercar should be when it was launched in 2005. The mid-engined, carbon-fibre hypercar delivered 1250Nm of torque from its 8.0-liter, quad-turbo W16 engine, which hurled it to a speed-limited top end of 407km/h (252mph).

It’s engineering was lead by Wolfgang Schreiber, the former Bentley COE who sued the Volkswagen Group in 2016 over royalty payments from its widely used dual-clutch automatic transmissions.

Kaban moved to Volkswagen’s Audi premium arm in 2003 as head of exterior design and spent a fruitful stint as chief of design at Skoda.

Then he moved to BMW in 2017 to become its head of design after the highly respected Karim Habib moved to Infiniti. (Habib now heads up Kia’s design department.)

Kaban’s stint at Rolls-Royce has been looked at with bewilderment, however.

He traded the most important design job in the BMW Group for its low-volume luxury Rolls-Royce brand. He also signed on at the start of this year then signed off again before he’d had a chance to make an impact.

“Although Jozef has been with Rolls-Royce for a very short period we thank him for his input during his tenure,” Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said. 

“We wish him the best for the future.”

Müller-Ötvös has had a busy month. Kaban’s departure was flagged in April, while former BMW M chief Franciscus van Meel is joining Rolls-Royce as its head of product management (he will split his time between the British-based limousine maker and BMW’s own luxury models, like the 7 and 8 Series, the X5 and the X7).

The Slovakian-born Kaban earned a degree in Industrial Design from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava in 1991 and took a Master of Arts at London’s Royal College of Art in 1997.

He was lauded at Skoda for reanimating Czech design with the Superb, the Octavia and the Kodiaq, while he designed Volkswagen’s tiny Lupo and Seat’s Arosa compact crossover.

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