Walter Maria de Silva (born 27 February 1951, Lecco, Italy) was an Italian car designer and former head of Volkswagen Group Design until 2015. His career began in 1972 when he worked as an apprentice car designer at Fiat’s Style Centre. De Silva also worked at the I.D.E.A. Institute and as head of design for the Alfa Romeo, SEAT and Audi brand groups.

Some of the highlights of his career include:
Alfa Romeo (1986-1999).
SEAT (1999-2002): Ferdinand Piëch commissioned De Silva to inject sportiness and emotion into the design of the SEAT division of the Volkswagen Group. The result was the “SEAT auto emoción” philosophy, first seen in the SEAT Salsa concept car in 2000 and the SEAT Tango concept car in 2001. The latter was awarded the “Autonis Prize” in the “Concept Car” category.
Audi brand group (2002-2007): in March 2002, De Silva was appointed Head of Design of the defunct Audi brand group, which comprised the Audi, SEAT and Lamborghini brands. He was responsible for creating an emotive design language for the Audi range, including the introduction of the full-height, single-frame front grille that now adorns all Audi models.
Volkswagen Group (2007-2015): After Martin Winterkorn, former President of Audi, was elected Chairman of the Volkswagen Group, De Silva was appointed Head of Volkswagen Group Design from 1 February 2007. He was responsible for reviewing the strategic design direction of VW’s passenger car brands, including Škoda, SEAT, Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti. De Silva took over from former designer Murat Günak.

Walter Maria de Silva influenced the shape and look of many cars during his career. Some notable examples include:
Alfa Romeo 156: De Silva was head of Alfa Romeo Centro Stile and played a key role in the design of the 156. This model renewed and repositioned the design language of the brand and was a great success in the automotive industry.
Audi A5 and S5. These models represent the perfect blend of sporty elegance and precise lines.
Volkswagen Golf VII: De Silva was also involved in the design of the Volkswagen Golf VII as lead designer. This model is the latest generation of Volkswagen’s iconic compact car, and retains the traditional lines of the Golf in its design.
Lamborghini Gallardo. This model was one of the most popular and successful Lamborghini sports cars.

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