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Hyundai hires 2nd Bentley designer for Genesis brand

Korean-born senior Bentley designer will be responsible for the exterior look of Hyundai’s luxury Genesis cars

By Seo Jee-yeon

Published : May 16, 2016 - 15:14

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Hyundai Motor said Monday that it had roped in another former designer from British luxury carmaker Bentley for its new luxury Genesis brand, as part of its drive to move higher up the automotive value chain.

“Korean-born and world famous car designer Lee Sang-yup, who headed the exterior design for Bentley, will make a new start at Hyundai’s design center from next month,” a Hyundai Motor Group spokesperson said, adding Lee will play the same role for Genesis cars as a vice president. 

Lee Sang-yup, the new head of exterior design for Hyundai Genesis Lee Sang-yup, the new head of exterior design for Hyundai Genesis

Lee is the second senior designer from Bentley, which is under the Volkswagen Group, to join Hyundai, following his former direct boss Luc Donckerwolke.

Belgian car designer Donckerwolke, a former design director at Bentley, has headed the design center for Hyundai’s first luxury brand as its executive vice president since January this year.

“The company expects the two former Bentley designers to have a synergy effect in creating the design identity of the upcoming Genesis cars,” the company said in press release. 

Bentley’s first SUV Bentayga, a vehicle deisgned by Lee Bentley’s first SUV Bentayga, a vehicle deisgned by Lee

Industry experts said the design duo is expected to focus on the design of the G70, the performance-based third Genesis car that is to debut next year.

The 47-year-old industrial designer Lee has built an impressive career in auto design for about two decades. He has experience not only in American muscle cars but also in German luxury cars.

He built his reputation through the design of the iconic 2010 Chevrolet Camaro muscle car at General Motors. He moved to the Volkswagen Group in 2009 and contributed a number of ideas for the German auto giant’s six brands including Audi, Porsche and Bentley. 

2010 Chevrolet Camaro, a vehicle designed by Lee 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, a vehicle designed by Lee

Since the launch of the Genesis brand last November, Hyundai has rolled out two models of its flagship G90 sedan (EQ900 in Korea). It will unveil the G80 at the upcoming 2016 Busan International Motor Show.

“The market expects the third Genesis model could create a clear personality for the Genesis brand and present a family look for the brand,” Kim Phil-soo, an automotive engineering professor at Daelim University.

“The industry reacts positively to Hyundai’s serial hiring of world famous designers in the initial stage of a new luxury brand, as luxury car lovers put more emphasis on the design aspects of a car than other conditions.”

By Seo Jee-yeon (jyseo@heraldcorp.com)