Mazda North American Operations taps Derek Jenkins as its design director, replacing Franz von Holzhausen, who last year left the auto maker to head up design at electric-vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors Inc.

Jenkins, 39, formerly served as chief of design for Volkswagen of America Inc., where he was credited with numerous concept and production vehicles, including the Audi A2, A8 and Volkswagen Scirocco concept.

“Derek’s intimate knowledge and understanding of the North American market, combined with his wealth of experience after having spent 15 years at VW and Audi, are going to be a tremendous asset to the Mazda design team,” Robert Davis, senior vice president-research, development and quality, says in a statement.

In his new role, Jenkins will be tasked with leading a team of 25 to develop a design philosophy for Mazda’s next-generation of vehicles, the auto maker says.