Harm Lagaay, the designer responsible for Porsche's current face, will retire July 1. He'll be replaced on August 1 by Michael Mauer, a former Saab and Mercedes-Benz designer.
Lagaay has been credited with the design of the Boxster, the current and next Porsche 911, the Cayenne SUV and the Carrera GT supercar.
Lagaay spoke to Automotive New Europe's Diana T. Kurylko about his career at Porsche and about Mauer's future at the luxury sports car maker.
What do you consider to be the highlight of your career?
It is the Carrera GT, the car that started production at the beginning of the year.
What is Porsche design?
It is based on shapes that started in the early '50s and it has been further developed without losing its identity. The identity of Porsche design or shapes is based on the way we model the surfaces, the outer skin of our cars.
What styling cues always have to be on a Porsche?
We have an SUV, the Boxster, the 911 rear-engine car and the super sports car. Each model is extremely different. All the headlamps are different, but the ones we use have a family resemblance that gives you the identity regardless of the size and price.
Can a four-door model or a big coupe be a Porsche?
Yes, we have shown with the Cayenne that Porsche shapes are not just for sports cars.
Whose design do you admire?
The design strategies of Mercedes-Benz are at the top of my list. I have always liked that they went through many years of change, were courageous, and now they can have almost any type of car in their lineup.
What will your successor, Michael Mauer, bring to Porsche design?
He can bring in a lot of new energy and new thoughts and new ideas. He can bring a fresh approach and look at the things coming out in the coming years. He has time to think about what the next changes will be.
Will we see Mauer's design first on the new larger coupe?
There is no decision to make such a car. We are working on the car you are referring to, and there is no decision. He could put his mark on this car.
Why retire now at 57?
I am at the height of my career, and the mission I had given myself when I returned to Porsche in January of 1989 has been accomplished.