Luc Donckerwolke to succeed Schreyer As Hyundai, Kia Design Boss Photo:
2016_kia_optima_overseas_03 Photo: tmr
2014 Bentley Flying Spur - Overseas Photo:
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2016 Kia Optima - Overseas Photo:
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Mike Stevens | Jun, 18 2015 | 7 Comments

The growing Hyundai empire has poached another Volkswagen Group designer, snapping up Bentley styling boss Luc Donckerwolke.

And, while Hyundai has declined to comment, reports out of Europe suggest the 49 year-old Belgian designer will be groomed as the next head of its global design operations.

The company’s current head of design, Peter Schreyer, began work with sister brand Kia in 2006 before being promoted to overall Hyundai-Kia styling chief in 2013.

Best known for his work in leading the design of Audi’s first-generation TT, Schreyer quickly set about creating a sports-styled revolution at Kia.

Under his watch, the Kia brand’s image has evolved from drab and dowdy to sleek and stylish. Likewise, Hyundai has now begun to roll out a new look across its range.

Now, as the 63 year-old Schreyer prepares for retirement at the end of his current contract in two years, it appears likely that Donckerwolke will step up as his successor.

Above: the new Kia Optima, due in Australia later this year.
Above: the new Kia Optima, due in Australia later this year.

Donckerwolke most recently served as the design boss at Bentley, after previously playing a leading role in the design of models at Skoda, Audi and Seat - along with the now legendary Lamborghini Murcielago and Gallardo supercars.

The designer resigned his post with the Volkswagen Group earlier this month. He was replaced at Bentley by Audi stylist Stefan Sielaff.

Readers with their finger on the pulse will also remember Donckerwolke as the designer that called out Lincoln’s David Woodhouse over the recent Continental concept and its styling similarities to the Bentley Flying Spur.

“I would have called it a Flying Spur concept and kept the four round lights,” Donckerwolke wrote on his Facebook profile.

Donckerwolke then hopped over to Woodhouse’s own Facebook page and asked: “do you want us to send the product tooling?”, suggesting Lincoln could speed-up the Continental’s production schedule by simply using Bentley’s existing stamps and presses.

Expect Hyundai to rein-in the outspoken Belgian before he takes Schreyer’s job in 2017 or 2018.

MORE: Hyundai | Kia | Bentley

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