Walter de'Silva

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Walter Maria de’Silva (born February 27, 1951 in Lecco, Italy) is a car designer from Italy, and currently in charge of all Volkswagen Group design.


Fiat and Alfa Romeo

His long automotive career began in 1972 at Centro Stile Fiat, followed by nine years at I.DE.A Institute, before he was recruited by Alfa Romeo. By 1986, he was made in charge of Alfa's Centro Stile, a role he maintained until the late 1990s. It was here that he 'led the renewal of the brand's design language and effective repositioning' [1] and made his name by designing the Alfa Romeo 156 and 147.

Seat and Audi

In 1998 he was poached from Alfa by Ferdinand Piëch to work for the Volkswagen Group's SEAT division with the hope he could inject the same verve and sportiness to SEAT design. The result was SEAT's 'auto emoción' philosophy which saw more expressive design in the form of the 2001 SEAT Tango Concept, 2002 SEAT Ibiza and SEAT Córdoba. In March 2002 he was appointed Head of Design to the now-defunct Audi brand group encompassing design for the Audi, Lamborghini, and SEAT brands.

He has been credited with giving the Audi range a more emotional design language which included the controversial introduction of the full-length single-frame front grille that now adorns all Audi models, which was previewed by the 2003 Audi Nuvolari Concept. Though his influence would touch the 2004 restyling of the Audi A4 and the 2004 A3 Sportback, his first full design for a production Audi was the 2004 A6. He has since gone on to contribute to the 2006 Audi Q7, 2006 Audi TT and the 2007 Audi A5, which is reportedly his favourite design.[2]

During this time de’Silva continued to design cars for Audi's subsidiaries including the 2004 SEAT Altea and Toledo, the 2005 SEAT León, and his first Lamborghini, the 2006 Lamborghini Miura concept, first shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show in January 2006.

Volkswagen Group

Following the appointment of the former Audi chairman Martin Winterkorn as the chairman of the Volkswagen Group in January 2007, de'Silva was promoted to Head of Design for the entire Volkswagen Group effective of February 2007 and is now responsible for the overall strategic direction of all VW brands encompassing Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, Skoda and Volkswagen. He replaces Turkish-born Volkswagen chief designer Murat Günak and his first task was to re-evaluate the designs of four then-imminent Volkswagen models which had been penned by Günak: the 2007 Tiguan the 2008 Passat CC, the 2008 Scirocco, and the upcoming Mk6 Golf.[3] At Audi, de'Silva is succeeded by the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione designer, Wolfgang Egger.[4]


  • Alfa Romeo Proteo (1991)
  • Alfa Romeo 145/146 (1994)
  • Alfa Romeo Nuvola (1996)
  • Alfa Romeo 156 (1997)
  • Alfa Romeo 147 (2000)
  • SEAT Salsa (2000)
  • SEAT Tango (2001)
  • SEAT Ibiza III (2002)
  • SEAT Córdoba II (2002)
  • Audi Nuvolari Quattro (2003)
  • SEAT Toledo III (2004)
  • SEAT Altea (2004)
  • SEAT León II (2005)
  • Audi Q7 (2005)
  • Audi TT (2006)
  • Audi R8 (2006)
  • Audi A5 (2007)
  • Audi A6 (2005)
  • Audi A4 (2008)
  • Lamborghini Miura concept (2006)


  1. 'Who's Where: Walter de'Silva appointed Head of VW Group Design', Car Design News, 25 Jan 2007 [1], accessed 27 Jan 2007
  2. "interview_with_walter_desilva". Retrieved on 2008-01-27. 
  3. 'VW sent back to drawing board',, 2 Feb 2007, [2], accessed 11 Feb 2007
  4. 'Audi gets new head of design', Autocar, 14 Feb 2007, [3], accessed 14 Feb 2007