Hyundai announced today that SangYup Lee, one of the stars of the automotive design world, will be joining the company next month. Lee spent time at GM where he designed the 2006 Camaro concept that led the pony car's revival; more recently, he's led exterior design at Bentley, where he worked on last year's stunning EXP 10 Speed 6 (pictured above).
And strangely, this isn't the first time a designer associated with the EXP 10 Speed 6 has landed at Hyundai. Last year, the company poached Bentley design director Luc Donckerwolke shortly after he lobbed bombs at Lincoln, accusing the design of the Continental concept as being a little too close to Bentley's design language.
It's quite likely that Donckerwolke helped lure Lee into the fold, but it also probably didn't hurt Hyundai's cause that Volkswagen Group is embroiled in a diesel emissions cheating scandal that threatens to slash budgets and entire projects across the entire company. That includes Bentley, where — despite overwhelming positive reaction to the EXP 10 — there's no guarantee that the small coupe will make it to production.
In his new role, Lee will be responsible for both interior and exterior design for the Hyundai and Genesis brands. Genesis — which only recently became an independent, upscale brand in its own right — won praise for its New York Concept sedan earlier this year, so he's coming in on an upswing.