World Car Awards - 2024 Design Panel

Note: The World Automotive Design Competition will be relaunched in the near future. Stay tuned for complete details.

A design panel consisting of seven highly respected world design experts first review each candidate for the World Car Design of the Year award. They then establish a short-list of recommendations for the jurors.

The design experts are:

Gert Hildebrand (Germany – Owner Hildebrand-Design)
Patrick le Quément (France - Designer and President of the Strategy Committee - The Sustainable Design School)
Tom Matano (USA – Academy of Art University, Former Head of Design – Mazda)
Victor Nacif (USA - Chief Creative Officer, and Design instructor, New School of Architecture and Design)
Shiro Nakamura (Japan - CEO, Shiro Nakamura Design Associates Inc.)
Frank Stephenson (UK - Frank Stephenson Design)

  Gert Hildebrand
Owner, Hildebrand Design

After studying Mechanical Engineering at TH Karlsruhe and design at the Braunschweig University of Art and the Royal College of Art, London, Mr Hildebrand began his design career at Opel. Subsequently he has held senior design positions at Volkswagen, Seat, 3M, Mitsubishi, JCI, Mini, Quoros and Bordrin Design, Shanghai.

Among the many vehicles for which he was responsible are the Opel Junior and Kadett E, Volkswagen Golf 3, Seat Toledo 2 and Leon 1, multiple Mini and Qoros models, and the 1994 Le Mans winning Porsche 962.

  Patrick le Quément
President of the Strategy Committee
The Sustainable Design School

Born in France, he studied in Great Britain where he graduated as an industrial designer from the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design.

He began his 42 year automotive design career in SIMCA, moved rapidly to Ford where he eventually headed the Design center in Ford of Germany. After 17 years with Ford, he moved in 1985 to the Volkswagen-Audi Group as responsible for Advanced Design. In 1987 he joined Renault to take charge of Renault Corporate Design, a company he would stay in 22 years. In the course of 1995 he was named Senior Vice President of both Design and Corporate Quality, made a member of the board of Directors and, answered directly to the CEO.

He left Renault in 2009 to create his own consultancy, specialized in naval design and strategic design. Since 2010, he has designed a large number of boats, some of which were given both European and US awards.

In 2013, he co-founded together with Maurille Larivière and Marc Van Petegem, in Nice « The Sustainable Design School » which is a member of the Côte d’Azur University.

Patrick le Quément has received numerous awards including : « European Car Designer of the Year » in 2002, the same year the Raymond Loewy Foundation presented him with the « Lucky Strike Designer Award » in recognition for his lifetime contribution to Design. In 2004 in Madrid, he was elected by Car & Driver « Personality of the Decade. » Finally, in 2015 he was presented the prestigious American prize « EyesOnDesign Lifetime Design Achievement Award. »

He has been the subject of 2 biographies : « Patrick le Quément- Renault Design » in the Carmen series published in 2000 by the Italian editor Automobila. The second in 2011, « From Ford to Renault - 40 Years of Design - in the footsteps of Patrick le Quément » published by E.T.A.I.

He is also the author of a book « Design Between the Lines » published by Merrell Publishers, London/New York.

  Tom Matano
Executive Director,
School of Industrial Design,
at Academy of Art University, San Francisco

Matano has thirty years of experience in the automotive design industry. He held design positions at GM Design in US, GM Holden’s in Australia, and BMW in Germany. In 1983, he joined Mazda’s North American design team. From 1999 to 2002, Matano worked at Mazda Headquarters in Japan, as an Executive Designer in charge of the Chief Designers group. His accomplishments at Mazda include the MPV, MX 5 Miata, RX 7, and many other projects by the design teams he managed. Mr. Matano is committed to develop young talents, by using his diverse knowledge and experience, at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, since 2002. Now the program is ranked among the top Industrial Design Program in the country.

  Victor Nacif
Chief Creative Officer,
Design instructor, New School of Architecture and Design

Born in Mexico, Victor moved to the U.S.A at the age of 9. His artistic abilities and passion for Automobiles allowed him to attend College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan (CCS). Victor’s career spans 38 years in the Automotive Industry through 3 great Automobile companies- Ford Motor Co. Design, PSA Peugeot Citroën Design and Nissan Design.

Leading and Managing on multiple Automotive projects from Advanced Concept to Production, Exterior, Interior and Color and Trim. During his career he has lived and worked in the USA, England, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and France. He is fluent in Spanish, English and French.

Victor is now working on a variety of Projects that entail Interior Design, Product Design and Human Centric Design for the Office space. He is Chief Creative Officer at, a visually stunning software for the Travel Industry, and is a Design instructor at NewSchool of Architecture and Design in San Diego, California.

  Shiro Nakamura
Shiro Nakamura Design Associates Inc.

Born in Osaka Japan 1950. Graduated from Musashino Art University in 1974 and joined Isuzu Motor Company. He studied at the Art Center College of Design in the US and holds a BS with distinction. He worked at General Motors Design in Michigan, created Isuzu Europe’s Design studio, and in 1998, became global design director of the design center. His most notable creation at Isuzu was the VehiCROSS SUV concept.

In 1999, Shiro was requested to join Nissan Motor Company to vitalize design. He served as Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer until March 2017. He established the strategy of design and brand for both Nissan and Infiniti contributing to the turnaround of the company. Throughout his career at Nissan he has created distinctive designs such as the Nissan 350Z, Cube and the iconic GT-R. He also led the design team that penned Nissan crossover vehicles including the Murano, Rogue/Qashqai, Juke and Infiniti FX.

In addition, Nakamura has been awarded numerous accolades including France’s Grand Prix du Design and America’s Eyes On Design Award among others. He established SHIRO NAKAMURA DESIGN ASSOCIATES in April 2017, and is continuing creative activities as a design consultant.

  Frank Stephenson
Design Director
Design Director Design

Automotive insiders regularly refer to Frank Stephenson as “one of the most influential automotive designers of our time” and “he has designed some of the most iconic cars of the 21st century” – Autoblog & Motor Trend.

Frank’s career spans being a design leader at several of Europe’s best-known automotive companies, where he has penned and overseen cars such as the Ford RS Cosworth, BMW X5, new MINI, Ferrari F430, Maserati MC12, new Fiat 500 and all the new range of supercars from McLaren.

Frank now leads the creative direction at his own design studio, Frank Stephenson Design, which was founded in 2018. Frank is excited to shape the future of mobility by leading the design of pioneering new industries such as eVTOL aircraft and Near-Space Tourism whilst positively impacting society by designing cross-industry products such as child safety seats, innovative beauty products and watches. As a recognised industry thought leader, Frank also shares his knowledge on the future of mobility and how design will continue to drive societies forward.

In 2023, Frank launched ‘Learn to Sketch with Frank’, an all-new immersive online design course poised to educate and transform the way aspiring designers approach their craft.