Alfa Romeo


Frank Stephenson has been appointed as the new Alfa Romeo Style chief and will report directly to Lorenzo Ramaciotti, head of Style for all Fiat Group Automobiles and Maserati brands. Currently the head of the amalgamated Fiat (including the Fiat Professional commercial division) and Lancia design departments, Stephenson now absorbs the 'sporty' Alfa Romeo portfolio into his design brief. Long term Pininfarina employee Ramaciotti (who also oversees Maserati styling) was appointed to his position at the end of last month.

The position as the Head of Design at Alfa Romeo became vacant when incumbent Wolfgang Egger departed to take up the position of Head of Design at Audi on 1st May. During his time at Alfa Romeo Egger has been responsible for a series of designs including the 1998 Nuvola concept car, the current Alfa 159 sedan, and the 500-unit limited-edition Alfa 8C Competizione sportscar.

Stephenson's immediate attention will turn to the key Alfa 149 project which is set to replace the brand's most important volume model, the ageing Alfa 147, in less than two years time. Repeatedly returned to the drawing board it can be expected that he will now be eager to put his 'stamp' on the styling of this project. Likewise he will also have to devote his attention to the Fiat Grande Punto-based 'Junior' project as well as the new flagship sedan (dubbed Alfa 169) and a planned new crossover. It seems a good appointment as Stephenson will push the overall Alfa Romeo design language forward, bringing his slightly sharper and more-modern style to the equation as the brand seeks to reach a recently imposed sales target of 300,000 units a year by 2010.

In July 2002 Frank Stephenson joined Ferrari as Head of Design where he contributed to the creation of some of the Prancing Horse’s most recent road models, including the Ferrari 430 and 612 Scaglietti. He also styled the dramatic 29-unit Enzo-based 'track car', the FXX.

Frank Stephenson with Alfa Romeo CEO Antonio Baravalle during the Bologna Motor Show in December 2005. Now Stephenson will be responsible for the design of all Alfa Romeo's new models.

Born on 3 October 1959 in Morocco but with a U.S. passport, Frank Stephenson has also lived in Spain and he graduated from the famous Art Center College of Design at Pasadena, California where so many of the world's leading automotive designers learnt their trade. He speaks Spanish, English, German and Italian, loves travelling and has a passion for engines. During an 11-year stint with BMW he conjured up designs including the BMW X5 and, arguably his most famous styling work to date, the 2001 MINI.

In July 2002 he joined Ferrari as Head of Design where he contributed to the creation of some of the Prancing Horse’s most recent road models. These include the Ferrari 430 and 612 Scaglietti. From the same position, working in conjunction with Pininfarina, he also had input into the rebirth of the Maserati brand under Ferrari's direction, including making contributions to the Quattroporte super-luxury sedan and the awesome MC12 supercar. He also styled the dramatic 29-unit Enzo-based 'track car', the FXX.

In April 2005 he was appointed head of the Fiat, Lancia and Light Commercial Vehicles Style Centre, a position that he has held until today. During the last two years he has been responsible for the design of the Fiat Bravo and Panda 100HP as well as a string of attention-grabbing and challenging concept cars, from the tiny PanDAKAR and Panda Luxury to the huge Iveco-based 'off road' Oltre Fiat and the massive Ducato Truckster with its 'gullwing' doors.

Related articles

News comes of a shake-up in international car design as Wolfgang Egger leaves his post at Alfa Romeo

© 2007 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed