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Lincoln Snags a Top Designer from Cadillac

Any doubts about Lincoln’s designs have been all but erased with its poaching of Cadillac’s exterior design director Max Wolff, who played a major role in executing the popular CTS-V.

Lincoln’s ability to lure away Wolff from GM where he was Cadillac’s director of the exterior design is a major coup for the American manufacturer. In his new role, Wolff will be director of design. He takes the place of Peter Marbury who left earlier this year to go work for Volvo.

Lincoln has snagged an up-and-comer in the automotive design world.

Wolff is best known for his design work on the popular Holden brand (that inspired the Pontiac G8 in the U.S.) in his native Australia. During his career with General Motors, Max held key design positions including assignments in the U.S. with Cadillac, in Australia with Holden and in Korea with GM Daewoo. Wolff joins a growing list of Lincoln top managers, which include C.J. O’Donnell, Lincoln Group marketing manager, and Scott Tobin, Lincoln director of Product Development, with global experience. All have lived and worked in Asia, Europe and North America.

In an interview, I conducted with him at the N.Y. Auto Show in April, Wolff summed up his theories on exterior car design, which bodes well for future Lincoln products. “The exterior of a car is the rolling billboard for the brand. Not so many folks see the interior.

They experience it at the dealership. It is the interior that seals the deal. You can’t compromise the exterior of the car for the interior too much. The belt height and roof height and shoulder room could influence the exterior design. The wider track and wheel flares are luxury touches that can be offered on more expensive cars. Econo-cars are more concerned with interior space,” said Wolff.