The Indian Motorcycle Company announced today the hiring of motorcycle industry design veteran Ola Stenegard as its Director of Product Design. Stenegard previously led product design for BMW Motorrad where he played a substantial role in designing their motorcycles, including most recently the BMW R-nineT. While his professional career has largely focused on European motorcycles, Stenegard’s life-long personal passion has been the design and customization of American V-twins.
“Ola has been incredibly successful in helping brands expand into new product categories and appeal to a wider variety of riders, which is exactly what Indian will be focused on in the coming years,” said Steve Menneto, President, Indian Motorcycle Company. “It’s rare to find a designer with Ola’s unique experience, and we are thrilled to have him on board at such an exciting and important time for our business.”
Stenegard was welding, chopping and customizing bicycles and mopeds by the age of seven. At 15, Stenegard took first prize at his first motorcycle show in Stockholm with a moped he’d modified into an Arlen Ness-inspired chopper. Stenegard attended University College of Art, Craft & Design in Stockholm in 1994 before transferring to the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He later returned to the University College of Art, Craft & Design and earned a Master’s degree in Applied Art (Industrial Design) in 1998.
Stenegard worked for SAAB, and did freelance work for Ohlins Suspension, Unique Custom Cycle and MCM Magazine. In 2001, Stenegard returned to the United States to join Indian Motorcycle (under a previous ownership group) in Gilroy, California.
In 2003, he joined BMW Motorrad where he would become one of the brand’s most influential designers over the next 15 years, ascending to Head of Vehicle Design and working on virtually every significant new model program. Moreover, Stenegard’s influence wasn’t limited to product design. His passion for riding and his understanding of the marketplace allowed him to assume a role in the marketing of motorcycles. Stenegard’s creativity resulted in a number of BMW’s more-popular marketing platforms, including the “Soulfuel” campaign that supported the launch of R-nineT.
Aside from his professional efforts, Stenegard still immerses himself in the garage, working on choppers and other custom builds. Over the years, his custom builds have been featured in hundreds of magazines across the world and have earned numerous awards at some of the world’s most renowned motorcycle shows, including the AMD European Championship of Bike Building and Mooneyes, Yokohama. He also is distinguished as the youngest inductee in the Swedish Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
Stenegard and his wife Terese reside on a horse farm on the island of Gotland (Sweden’s largest island), with their three children, sons Isaac (18) and Grim (11), and daughter Saga (14).