Future Hyundais will all look different: design chief

By Motoring Staff Time of article published Apr 12, 2018

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New York - Hyundai’s new head of design, Luc Donckerwolke, says he’s going to turn the company’s design philosophy on its ear.

At the recent New York Auto Show, Donckerwolke told journalists that Hyundai’s way of identifying its cars across the model ranges by a common design language is "boring", Motoring.com.au reports.

Having lived and worked in Korea since his appointment at that country’s dominant carmaker, he’s come to realise that 65 percent of the cars on the roads there came from just two makers - Hyundai and sister company Kia - and they all looked like bigger or smaller versions of the same shape.

“We need to give each model its own personality,” he insisted, “tailored to the customer and the segment it competes in.”

Luc Donckerwolke

Donckerwolke spoke of battling against entrenched tradition in design at both his previous gigs - Bentley and Lamborghini (where he was responsible for the Murcielago and Gallardo) - saying there was less ‘inertia’ at Hyundai.

And it seems he’s putting Hyundai’s money where his mouth is; he wouldn’t give details but said that by the end of 2018 or early in 2019, there would be new shapes in showrooms that wouldn’t look like each other, or like previous models.

Le Fil Rouge concept makes a complete break with previous Hyundai and Kia designs.

He criticised current supercar designs, saying they were no longer the trendsetting style icons that they were in the 1960s and 70s. Many of today’s designers, he said, were taking the easy way out, using exaggerated proportions to create visual aggression. He singled out rival carmakers Lexus and Infiniti for their recent provocative, ‘love it or hate it’ designs, saying they dated quickly and soon reached saturation point.

ALSO READ: Sleek concept previews future Hyundai designs

Hyundai’s premium Genesis brand, he said, would take its design direction from the Essentia concept, for which he freely admitted borrowing styling cues from the classics, including the 1964 Ferrari 275 Lusso. Donckerwolke is hoping that his Essentia will also make it to showroom floors, alongside a replacement for the current G90.

“Every brand needs an icon,” he said, implying that while Hyundai and Kia models would each have their own style, the upcoming Genesis range, would clearly reflect the Essentia DNA.

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