Luc Donckerwolke has said it before, and this week he reiterated his wish to see each model under the Hyundai banner carry its own distinctive design signature. The head designer at Hyundai since 2016 (and holder of the same position at Genesis), the former Audi, Bentley and Lamborghini designer at the Volkswagen group is making it clear he doesn’t believe in the wisdom of creating a line of homogenously designed vehicles across the lineup.
In the current automotive landscape, where conformism rules, this is refreshing to hear.
Donckerwolkce reaffirmed his intentions when he spoke at an event this week, according to a report by automotive website Motoring. The designer recalled his most recent visit to South Korea, during which he was struck by the homogeneity of the Hyundai and Kia vehicles he saw on the roads there.
"If the cars have the same design, I mean you are creating a really boring landscape. I don't want to do that."
- Luc Donckerwolke, Hyundai
The plan for Hyundai involves ensuring that teams affected to the design of a model will give it a unique personality. Conception and design will be guided solely by considerations to do with the segment the model is part of, with no effort made to create a cross-model Hyundai signature.
Ironically, the same strategy will not be repeated at Genesis, which at present offers a much smaller lineup of vehicles. For the moment, the few Genesis-branded models will carry a similar look. At the same time, Genesis will not make any provocative design moves in the way that Lexus has, for example. In the words of Donckerwolke, “Genesis will not be loud. We are self-confident, we are a design-driven brand and we believe in good taste and harmony.”
We will have to wait to see just where Hyundai’s strategy will lead; it will take months and even years before the head of design’s influence makes itself fully felt.
Wherever it leads the South Korean automaker, we can only hope that other manufacturers are inspired to follow suit. The automotive world can only benefit from more creative and innovative approaches to design.