Mazda taps Montousse to lead Calif. design studio

Since joining Mazda from GM in 2009, the Frenchman has led a team that has integrated “driver-centric” design into cars such as the Mazda3 and the newly redesigned MX-5 Miata.

SAN FRANCISCO — Mazda Motor Corp. has chosen Julien Montousse, an interior design specialist known for crafting the cockpit-like interiors of the Mazda6 sedan and the MX-5 Miata roadster, to lead its U.S. design studio, the automaker said today.

Montousse, a 37-year-old Paris native, replaces his former boss, Derek Jenkins, who quietly resigned from Mazda this July to become vice president of design for a “stealth project” in the Los Angeles area, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“Julien has been instrumental in strengthening Mazda’s overall direction through his keen focus on creating driving atmospheres focused on the experience of driving,” Masamitsu Koike, vice president of r&d at Mazda North American Operations, said in a statement today. “He is an invaluable asset to have on our team and an excellent ambassador of the Mazda brand.”

In his time at Mazda, Montousse has helped shape the flowing Kodo design worn by most of Mazda’s models. One of his first tasks as director of the Irvine, Calif., design studio will be helping to craft Kodo’s successor: a “seventh generation” design due to make its first appearance in 2018 on the next Mazda3.

Before joining Mazda, Montousse had worked for nearly a decade at General Motors, penning the interior of the revived Chevrolet Camaro that went on sale in 2009.

He was named to Automotive News’

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