Hyundai gets the Bentley Boys back together
In a clear case of the boys are back in town, Lee Sang-yup has jumped ship from Bentley to join up with his old boss, Luc Donckerwolke, over at Hyundai’s Genesis in a bid to realise the Korean automaker’s goal of building a world-class luxury brand. Back in 2012, Donckerwolke became the head of design at Bentley, where he and Lee brought the Bentayga from idea to finished product, but he left shortly after that, in 2015, to become global head of design for Hyundai and of course the Prestige Design Division of the Korean company. And now, he has been followed by his colleague.
Hyundai Vision G Coupe, where Bentley meets Aston Martin?
Hyundai has come a long way in just a few short years and is now ranked as the fourth largest manufacturer in the world by number of cars manufactured. Its relentless push to the top of the world rankings has also included a pursuit for continuous improvement, which has seen the recruitment of some of the world’s top talents, including hiring Manfred Fitzgerald, the ex-brand and design director over at Lamborghini.
The Korean giant is now vying to break into the luxury segment with its very own offerings from the Genesis Division, where the use of future technologies, particularly when autonomous tech is concerned, will fuse with connectivity and alternative drivetrains.
For now we know that future Genesis’ offerings will be all rear-wheel-drive but Lee and Donckerwolke will be given carte blanche in the design of all new models, with the aim of competing very much with the Cadillac’s and BMW’s. Hyundai and its new designers are convinced that the paradigm is shifting and future car ownership – particularly at the luxury end of the market – will shift from being about owning a prestigious possession to being more about the experience once you get into the vehicle. This is where Hyundai is betting on some of the newer ‘disruptive technologies’ to steal a march on the Aston Martin’s, Bentley’s and Maserati’s of the world.
Don’t expect anything soon as cars take a long time to get from the drawing board to the showroom, and so existing models like the G80 and G90 will continue to serve the brand for the foreseeable future. But Hyundai has been testing the edge of the envelope of late, as witnessed by the Vision G Coupe and the New York Sports Sedan; both of these clearly signal the Korean brand’s desire to take on the Old Guard in the West and show them a thing or two.