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These nine Australians influence global automotive design

By Ash Westerman, 27 Jan 2020 Features

Meet nine of Australia’s best automotive designers

These are nine Australians working around the world helping shape the future of automotive design

It’s often been observed that Aussies punch above their weight in the world of automotive design. Meet nine heavy hitters

Calvin Luk: BMW

This Australian-born rising star of BMW’s exterior design team got his start at Munich after graduating from the Art Centre College of Design in California, first via an internship that rolled into a coveted full-time role. Now 33, Luk cut his teeth on the X1 and X3, but really found his groove on the current Z4.

Jordan Demkiw: Ford of Europe

Now based in Cologne, Germany, Demkiw rose to prominence with the exterior design of the Falcon FG X. He quickly parlayed that into a two-door design that had plenty of Blue Oval diehards properly frothing – the XR8 Coupe Concept. “The inspiration came from cars I loved as a kid, cars like the XB and XC hardtops,” says Demkiw.

Jordan Demkiw

Nick Hogios: Toyota Australia

“As a child, I loved anything with movement, colour and speed – whether it was robots, spaceships or cars,” says Sydney-born Hogios, 44. Hogios won the 1999 Ford Australia/Wheels Young Designer of the Year, and spent two years at Ford before joining the newly established Toyota Style Australia in 2002.

Meet nine of Australia’s best automotive designers

Todd Willing: Ford of Europe

Tasmanian-born Willing’s career began with a high school work-experience placement in Ford’s Broadmeadows studio. He joined Ford in 2003, and has worked in Ford studios in Melbourne, Hiroshima, Cologne, Dunton (UK), Detroit and back to Melbourne in 2014, as design director of Ford Asia-Pacific. His highlights reel includes the 2015 reboot of the iconic Ford GT.

Richard Ferlazzo: Holden

“Growing up, the only cars I was interested in were Italian sports cars and Australian muscle cars,” says Ferlazzo. He joined Toyota in 1986, moved to Holden in 1988 and worked on every Commodore from the VN, serving as chief designer on VE and VF. Despite all that, Ferlazzo is justly famed for his 2005 Efijy concept. He was named design director of GM Australia in 2013.

Richard Ferlazzo

Peter Arcadipane: Beijing Automotive (BAIC)

Arcadipane has worked at Holden, Mitsubishi, Ford and Kia, among other companies, but really wrote his name in the automotive history book when he produced the CL coupe for Mercedes-Benz. These days he’s tasked with a major overhaul of models for Chinese manufacturer BAIC. Side note for fans of old mate Rockatansky: he also designed the Mad Max II Interceptor.

Peter Arcadipane

Max Wolff: Ford Asia Pacific

While at Holden, Wolff applied his design skills to vehicles such as the 2002 Holden SSX sports hatch concept, the HRT 427 super-coupe from Holden Special Vehicles (also 2002), as well as the Elfin Clubman MS8 track racer and Holden Torana TT36 concept, both from 2004. His stint at Lincoln produced the MKC – Lincoln’s first compact SUV – and a redesign of the Navigator SUV flagship.

Dave Dewitt: Ford Australia

Apart from a stint at Volvo, when it was part of Ford’s PAG, Dewitt has been a Blue Oval stalwart, and most recently oversaw Ranger and Everest as manager of exterior design. But if you want a peek at Dewitt’s imagination when really let off the leash, Google the Ford Mad Max concept from 2010, where all-terrain jet power is ready to rule the wastelands.

David Dewitt

Andrew Smith: Cadillac

Like Mike Simcoe, Smith is another Aussie-born ex-Holden designer (highlights include the Sandman concept from 2000, and the VE Commodore interior) who has made it big in Detroit. He joined Cadillac in 2013; these days he’s the iconic brand’s executive director of design, where he’s charged with retaining that tricky-to-define ‘Americanness’.