Last Updated on August 1, 2023 by Angel
Born in 1968, Franz von Holzhausen is a vehicle designer who has made a name for himself thanks to his hard work and innovativeness. The brilliant mind behind the design of some of Tesla’s most iconic cars, American designer Franz von Holzhausen is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to the world of cars. So, how exactly was Holzhausen able to become the chief designer of one of the world’s most valuable car manufacturers?
How it Started As a Designer
Well, it all started decades ago when Holzhausen began his career as assistant design chief for Volkswagen. He played a major role in the design of the New Beetle concept project while working under chief designer J Mays. Eight years later, Holzhausen started working for General Motors where he was a part of the short-lived roadster Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice.
It’s safe to say that it wasn’t until 2005 when Holzhausen began working for Mazda that he started to gain recognition for his incredible design. He became the chief of design at the Japanese car manufacturer and he led the design of the futuristic Mazda Kabura concept car with a design that was way ahead of its time. And, as a matter of fact, his work was so impressive that it caught the attention of the one and only Elon Musk.
Welcome to Tesla
Despite being the chief designer for Mazda, Holzhausen revealed that he wasn’t very happy working there as the company’s core values didn’t align with his. However, luckily for him, he was personally recruited by Musk who shared similar values to his. The two met up at Musk’s SpaceX facility, and needless to say, Holzhausen needed some convincing before he finally made the decision of joining Tesla.
Once he started working for Tesla, Holzhausen was given a blank sheet and was told to design his dream, which was something he had dreamt of. But, interestingly enough, it was challenging for him as it wasn’t just about designing a car–it was much more than that. Building a brand was as important as having a good car design, if not more. He didn’t want to create a design that would appeal to a broad audience, he wanted to create an aesthetic car with a unique design that would be recognized anywhere–and indeed he did.
First Design for Tesla
The final product of Holzhausen’s first task was Tesla’s Model S prototype, which was unveiled in 2009 inside the SpaceX rocket factory in California. The goal that was kept in mind when designing the car was the flexibility of using the battery pack and powertrain for different models, which would allow the company to scale up.
The design of the Model S was truly unprecedented; not only was the exterior an attention grabber, but the car also boasted a 17-inch computer interface connected to the internet–and let’s not forget to mention a storage space large enough to fit a 50-inch TV. The specifications and performance of the car were as impressive as the design, and everyone had high hopes for this eco-friendly vehicle that was about to hit the market.
Tesla Model S – The winning Design
The Tesla Model S went on to win the IDEA 2013 best show award, and critics had nothing to say about the car but great things. The design team was praised for creating such a design without compromising the weight of the car and its performance.
Holzhausen has been a major part of Tesla as a brand since the day he began working for the electric car manufacturer in 2008. In addition to the Tesla Model S, the 53-year chief designer is the mastermind behind the designs of the Tesla Model 3, Model X, Model Y, the Tesla Cybertruck, as well as the Tesla Semi. Holzhausen has accumulated a massive fortune from being Tesla’s chief designer for more than a decade, and it’s estimated that his net worth ranges from $1 to $5 million USD, and it’s not sure but according to some reports he owns no share in the company.