Hyundai raids Bentley to turbo-charge Genesis luxury drive

Mon May 16, 2016 6:37am EDT
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By Norihiko Shirouzu

BEIJING (Reuters) - After poaching Bentley's design chief last year, Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS: Quote) said on Monday that it has also secured the services of the luxury marquee's exterior designer.

Hyundai issued a statement saying Sangyup Lee will start work next month as its head of design, after Reuters reported the hiring of the Korean designer by the South Korean auto giant.

Lee is being brought in to work with Luc Donckerwolke, a Peruvian-born Belgian, to lead Hyundai's development of its Genesis premium car brand - a project driven by Chung Euisun, heir-apparent to the Hyundai Group.

"Lee will help...enhance the design competitiveness of both the Hyundai and Genesis brands with his abundant experience in designing high-end luxury vehicles," Hyundai said in its statement.

"His challenging and innovative design languages fit well with the DNA of Hyundai Motor."

Hyundai Motor, which sells some 8 million cars a year, sees limited growth unless it breaks into new markets, a person close to the automaker told Reuters. For the South Korean firm, that means premium cars and maybe pick-up trucks and parts of Southeast Asia.

Lee said he has joined Hyundai Motor as a vice president in charge of Hyundai and Genesis design, reporting to Donckerwolke, who will head up Hyundai's new Prestige Design Division, as well as being global head of Hyundai design - a reporting arrangement that Hyundai also confirmed on Monday.

Bentley spokesman Andrew Roberts confirmed Lee "has resigned from Bentley to take a position at another brand."   Continued...

A worker fixes the Hyundai logo on a vehicle at a plant of Hyundai Motor in Asan, south of Seoul, February 9, 2012.  REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won/File Photo