Genesis Design Boss Isn’t Giving Up On Sedans

Genesis chief creative officer Luc Donckerwolke says he doesn’t “want a monoculture of SUVs on the street.”

byLewin Day|
Genesis News photo

The last thirty years or so have seen the driving public gradually eschew traditional sedans and wagons. Instead, it seems like everyone just wants to drive an SUV. One Korean automaker, however, isn't giving up the fight when it comes to traditional bodystyles. Hallelujah, Genesis!

Per CarExpert, the desire to build endless SUVs isn't one universally shared by Genesis. Speaking to the Australian outlet, Hyundai and Genesis chief creative officer Luc Donckerwolke expressed his belief that brands will regret abandoning traditional sedans in time. "It’s not because it’s easier to sell a typology of a vehicle that we have to abandon another," said Donckerwolke. He points out that brands that go all in on SUVs may lose out on sales to rivals that still offer traditional body styles.

"I don’t want to have a monoculture of SUVs on the street… I love SUVs from the rugged ones to the sporty ones but that’s not it," he added.

The push towards SUV-heavy lineups has also hurt the supply of design talent, according to Donckerwolke. He decried younger designers who have only worked on SUV designs. "They don't know what proportions are," he laments.

As much as he has a say in the matter, Donckerwolke intends to continue designing sedans and other traditional body styles. “I will continue to make sedans and coupes and everything because you have to fight for every single millimeter to get the right proportions," he says. In comparison, he thinks designing an SUV is easy, derisively referring to them "bricks on wheels."

This isn't mere hot air from a spectator in the industry. In fact, Donckerwolke has quite the resume. He formerly served as head of design at Lamborghini, where he was responsible for both the Murciélago and the Gallardo. Those two vehicles set the tone for Lamborghini's entire design ethos in the modern era. They do well to demonstrate Donckerwolke's intimate understanding of the artform that is automotive design.

Donckerwolke has worked with Genesis since 2016, and has totally transformed the brand's aesthetic in that time. His influence has also been felt at Hyundai, which has undergone a similar renaissance of late. Korean cars were once regarded as also-rans in the design stakes at best, or tired copies at worst. Thanks in part to Donckerwolke's influence, these brands are now world leaders at the cutting edge of design.

He's not resting on his laurels, either. He was happy to speculate that cars like the X Speedium Coupe and X Convertible could enter production, given the right business case. When queried, he noted that a ladder-frame SUV wouldn't be out of the question, stating that "I don't see why it wouldn't fit the brand." Of course, no such plans have percolated out of Genesis as yet, but Donckerwolke is a big thinker. "My goal is to never be caught not prepared when the chairman tells me 'what if,'" he says.

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Genesis is already walking the walk when it comes to building traditional cars. The company builds a range of sedans, topped by the flagship Genesis G90. The company even builds a shooting brake in the form of the Genesis G70. If his call is the right one, customers will be spoilt for choice with the Genesis range. Some of the company's rivals won't be able to say the same.

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