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Future Hyundais Will Have More Distinctive Designs

Hyundai's new head of design believes the automaker's "Matryoshka doll" design philosophy is getting "boring."

Automakers are often guilty of adopting a “Matryoshka doll” design approach. As a result, car models from some automakers can look practically identical, regardless of their size or position in the range. Speaking to Motoring at the recent New York Auto Show, Hyundai’s new head of design, Luc Donckerwolke, described the Korean automaker’s current method of adapting the same design language to different models as “boring,” pledging that future models will have more distinct designs to set them apart. “We need to evolve,” he told the Australian publication.

“We need to give each model its own personality.” Donckerwolke added that he was inspired to introduce a more radical design philosophy after living and working in Hyundai’s home market of South Korea. “Imagine 65 per cent of the cars on the road being from two different producers,” he said. “If the cars have the same design, I mean you are creating a really boring landscape. I don’t want to do that.” Donckerwolke’s strategy is to create products that are specific to the segment they compete in. “It’s a bit too early to talk about it but at the end of this year or the beginning of next year there will be some cars that will show how we will not have a need for similar style,” he said.

We were recently given a preview of Hyundai’s bold new styling direction with the sleek Le Fil Rouge concept at New York. In contrast, future Genesis models may adopt a more consistent design language to avoid alienating loyal customers of the luxury brand. “It’s not vulgar, it’s not excessive. Genesis will not be loud ­– we are self-confident, we are a design-driven brand and we believe in good taste and harmony,” he told Motoring. “We are young and we don’t want to jail ourselves.” It’s a stark contrast to Lexus and Infiniti, which have adopted more provocative and polarizing designs in recent years.

“I find that making a really provocative statement is a bit counterproductive because you are creating something... at one point you have to go back because you are polarising... you are creating attention, but at the same time you are ageing faster.” As for the stunning Genesis Essentia concept that debuted at this year’s New York Auto Show, Donckerwolke is keen to bring a production version to showrooms as it could serve as the brand’s new halo car. “Every brand [needs] an icon. And I think that would serve that purpose,”

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