- hyundai chief designer luc donckerwolke has resigned effective immediately, automotive news and other publications are reporting today.
- donckerwolke had been with hyundai and genesis since 2016 and is credited with a radical shift in design. he became chief design officer of hyundai motor group, including hyundai, genesis, and kia, in 2018.
- no reason for the departure was given.
in a surprise move, luc donckerwolke, 54, has left the hyundai group, where he oversaw global design activities. he had joined hyundai and genesis in january 2016 and took over as global design chief for all brands, including kia, in october 2018, succeeding peter schreyer in this position.
donckerwolke studied car design at the famous, now defunct art center college in vevey, switzerland, then joined peugeot as an intern. but he soon left for audi; the year was 1992, and the design department was brimming with energy. it was the time when vehicles like the tt and the c5 a6 were created. donckerwolke himself worked on the al2, a prototype that preceded the ultra-efficient a2. in 1994, he left for škoda, where he left an indelible mark with the first-generation octavia and fabia models, then rejoined audi until he became chief designer of lamborghini in 1998.
in sant'agata bolognese, donckerwolke worked on the final iterations of the diablo and the gallardo; the murciélago, probably the purest lamborghini ever built, is 100 percent a donckerwolke design. this dream job was followed by a chief designer position at vw's subsidiary seat in spain, which he held until 2011, when he got responsibility for the entire vw group's advanced design. one year later, he moved to bentley to take over the chief designer position; in the u.k., he launched the current continental gt and its derivatives, and he created the stunning exp10 speed six concept.
but while he might well have taken over at the helm of the volkswagen group as the successor of walter de'silva, he left in may 2015 and joined the hyundai group in january 2016. his indelible mark there includes the production hyundai palisade and sonata and the upcoming elantra and tucson; concept cars include the le fil rouge, the 45, and the prophecy.
at genesis, a luxury brand especially close to his heart, he created an entirely new design language characterized by two lines stretching from the head- to the taillights; his influence is visible in the concept cars gv80, essentia, and mint as well as the facelifted g90 and the all-new gv80 and g80.
donckerwolke is reported to be leaving hyundai on very amicable terms, with no current plans to join another company. after more than 20 years in top positions in the industry, he is planning to spend more time with his family in bavaria. says donckerwolke: "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."