- After an absence of several months, Luc Donckerwolke rejoins the Hyundai Group.
- The highly regarded designer, who had been with the group since 2016, will return in a new and global, Europe-based position overseeing design.
- Donckerwolke is expected to focus particularly on Genesis and the Ioniq sub-brand.
After a break of just over half a year, Luc Donckerwolke is returning to Hyundai. The star designer had left in April at his own request, but his relationship with the Hyundai Group, where he continued to be deeply admired, was apparently never broken.
Donckerwolke returns on the executive vice president level, but in a new position that will allow him to spend more time in Europe: Located in Hyundai Motor Europe’s Technical Center in Rüsselsheim, Germany, he will assume the title of chief creative officer (CCO) and head design communications for the Hyundai Group.
Donckerwolke had worked for the Hyundai Group since 2016 and had most recently taken over from Peter Schreyer as global chief designer. There, he shaped the design language of the Group’s various brands decisively. Among his most important cars there are the new Genesis G80 and Hyundai Tucson as well as the Hyundai Prophecy and Genesis Essentia concept cars.
Before joining Hyundai, Donckerwolke held various positions in the Volkswagen Group, including as chief designer for Lamborghini, Seat, and Bentley. Some of his most remarkable cars there are the Lamborghini Murciélago and the current Bentley Continental GT.
Going forward, he will put particular emphasis on the luxury brand Genesis, in whose rise he played a decisive role, as well as the EV brand Ioniq and models powered by hydrogen fuel-cell technology. At the same time, he is expected to initiate joint projects with leading industry designers and conceive new concept cars.
The global design department of Hyundai and Genesis will continue to be led by SangYup Lee, while Karim Habib remains responsible for Kia. Six months ago, we wrote that Donckerwolke left Hyundai “on very amicable terms.” His return is proof of how much he was missed at Hyundai, and how much potential still lies in the Korean auto industry.
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Jens Meiners has covered the auto industry since 1996 and written for Car and Driver for much of that time. He is a juror on the World Car of the Year and International Engine of the Year and founder of German Car of the Year. Jens splits his time between New York and Nuremberg, where he keeps a growing collection of historic cars.