Former Bugatti head of exterior design creative development, Tobias Suehlmann, has taken on a new role at Aston Martin Lagonda (AML). Suehlmann replaces Miles Nurnberger, AML’s previous chief exterior Designer, who has been promoted to the position of design director. Both will report to chief creative officer Marek Reichman.
Aston Martin Lagonda is experiencing a period of rapid growth. According to independent business valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance, Aston Martin is the world’s fastest-growing automotive brand of 2018. The company saw the highest growth in its history in 2017, with profits soaring as sales exceeded 5,000 units for the first time since 2008.
It’s a good place to be.
Suehlmann comes to Aston Martin Lagonda following a brief stint as Bugatti’s head of exterior design creative development. He moved laterally from his previous lead exterior designer role at Volkswagen only a year prior, joining the Bugatti team and replacing Sasha Selipanov, who elected to head the new Genesis global advanced design studio in Frankfurt, Germany.
Bugatti’s product cycles are long and development of new products is an extremely slow process. The Chiron, the company’s only existing model since the Veyron went out of production, only made its debut in 2016 and there’s little chance of seeing a successor unveiled anytime soon. Clearly, there is a lot more opportunity for Suehlmann to further his career leading exterior projects for the Aston Martin and Lagonda brands.
AML’s rising profits in 2017 were largely driven by demand for the Aston Martin DB11, the first new model launched since the UK-based automobile manufacturer announced its transformational ‘second century plan’. In the last few years, the company has also created special projects including the Vanquish Zagato Coupe — in collaboration with the famed Italian carrozzeria — and the limited-production DB4 GT Continuation model. The new Vantage and imminent Vanquish replacement will certainly add fuel to the glowing profit fire.
New design director Miles Nurnberger is now tasked with overseeing color and trim, interior and exterior design for both the Aston Martin and Lagonda brands, both of which have big plans for the future.
Aston Martin is readying its first-ever SUV (previewed by the DBX concept of 2015), which is set to arrive in 2019, and Lagonda recently announced its intent to enter the new energy market.
While the Lagonda brand was relaunched in 2016 with the limited production Taraf, the most expensive four-door sedan in the world at the time, its vision for an ultra-luxurious electric vehicle was showcased at the 2018 Geneva motor show. AML is mulling the decision to launch two all-new Lagonda products by 2025, the first arriving by 2021.
This is good news for Suehlmann, a Pforzheim University graduate who cut his teeth as designer working for the Volkswagen Group. He joined the Group’s recently renamed Future Center in Potsdam upon graduation, working on exterior design projects for Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and the Volkswagen brands.
Suehlmann later made a move to Volkswagen’s corporate headquarters in Wolfsburg, where he was involved in the several exterior design concept and production car projects and was promoted to the role of team leader exterior design and design manager.
He is credited as the lead designer of the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTE Sport, 2015 Sport Coupé GTE and the 2016 T-Prime GTE concepts as well as the 2017 Volkswagen Arteon and recently revealed 2019 Volkswagen Touareg production cars.
It is not yet clear who, if anyone, will fill Suehlmann’s recently vacated position at Bugatti.