The man who helped oversee a design transformation at Hyundai, Genesis and Kia has left the automaker. On Wednesday, Automotive News Europe reported Luc Donckerwolke has resigned from Hyundai Motor effective today. The Belgian-born designer cited "personal reasons" for his departure.
In a statement, Donckerwolke said, "It's been an honor and privilege to contribute to the shaping of the future of Hyundai, Kia and Genesis. Their audacious and progressive attitude has allowed me to push the boundaries and challenge the status quo. I have enjoyed the trust given to me by the Group to create a design 'dream team' that has defined a DNA for the future of these brands and digitalization of their design processes. I want to express my gratitude to all the Hyundai Motor Group executives and employees and especially to my design team"
Donckerwolke joined the company in 2015 to lead Hyundai and Genesis design, meaning most of the new cars at dealerships today, like the new Sonata and Palisade, have received his touch. In 2018, he took over all of Hyundai Motor Group design to oversee Kia as well. Donckerwolke, along with Peter Schreyer, are largely credited with pushing Hyundai, Kia and newborn Genesis into the spotlight. Schreyer remains at the automaker, though he's not present for daily happenings at the company's design studios.
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According to the report, Hyundai will not name a replacement for Donckerwolke, at least not immediately. For now, SangYup Lee will continue work as head of Hyundai and Genesis design and Karim Habib will lead Kia.
Donckerwolke's move to Hyundai was an enormous shift after the designer led Lamborghini design starting in 1998. The final Diablo, Gallardo and Murcielago all received his stamp during his time at the Italian supercar maker. He worked for various other VW Group divisions, such as Audi, Bentley and Skoda, during his career, too.