This should’ve happened a long time ago, but better late than never, right?

Hyundai is planning to make an aggressive push to introduce next-generation models with bolder and more differentiated visual looks, effectively moving away from the “Matryoshka doll” styling that has plagued the auto industry. The automaker’s new head of design, Luc Donckerwolke, is pushing for the change, saying that the company “needs to evolve” and “give each model its own personality” if it wants to become an even bigger player in the business.

Hyundai to Drop the "Family Design" Theme; Says Future Models Will Have Their Own Personality Exterior
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As popular as Hyundai has become all over the world, its models suffer from a lack of design diversity.

Luc Donckerwolke is right. As popular as Hyundai has become all over the world, its models suffer from a lack of design diversity. There’s a part of Donckerwolke’s comments that makes sense, especially when it comes to continuity purposes. It’s fine to have a streamlined design language if the goal is to create some consistency. The problem surfaces when this streamlined design starts creating a monotonous landscape across the entire lineup. Donckerwolke discovered first-hand what that ends up looking like, telling Motoring of his experience living and working in South Korea where Hyundai and sibling brand Kia are the kings of the market. “Imagine 65 percent 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.”

According to Hyundai’s new design chief, the solution is to design products that are specific to the segment it competes in. That starts with the next-generation of Hyundai models. He didn’t say anything to reveal what plans he has for the design of future Hyundai models, but don’t expect him to abide by the current design trends of the company. There’s a shake-up that’s on the horizon, one he thinks will free the Korean automaker from the shackles of the “boring” family design language.

Hyundai to Drop the "Family Design" Theme; Says Future Models Will Have Their Own Personality
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There’s a shake-up that’s on the horizon, one he thinks will free the Korean automaker from the shackles of the “boring” family design language.

It’s a bold statement to make, though one that Donckerwolke feels is necessary if Hyundai wants to elevate itself as an auto brand. But just because this is his vision for Hyundai, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be the same with the automaker’s new luxury brand, Genesis.

Contrary to his position regarding Hyundai’s future design approach, Donckerwolke believes that Genesis still needs to establish its own identity, and a big part of that identity revolves around giving its design language a purpose. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Matryoshka doll styling will be adopted, but there needs to be a little more “controlled drama” in the design of future Genesis models. “We are young and we don’t want to jail ourselves,” he said. “At the same time, we need consistency, we need the DNA, but we have a great advantage that we are creating the lineage now, which also means responsibility.”

Not surprisingly, Donckerwolke took some shots at the design of some of Genesis’ rivals, notably Lexus and Infiniti, two companies that have swung for the fences with some of the most aggressively styled vehicles on the market. “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 polarizing … you are creating attention, but at the same time you are aging faster.”

Hyundai to Drop the "Family Design" Theme; Says Future Models Will Have Their Own Personality
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Going too far in the way of creating aggressive designs could backfire in a number of different ways, including becoming too aggressive with the design of its models

It’s easy to see where the former Lamborghini Gallardo and Murcielago designer is coming from. The differences between Hyundai and Genesis lie in their reach. Hyundai is a mass-market brand that’s literally sold in all corners of the world. It’s essential for its models to have their own distinct personalities. Genesis, on the other hand, is establishing itself as a niche luxury brand with a specific market to cater to. Going too far in the way of creating aggressive designs could backfire in a number of different ways, including becoming too aggressive with the design of its models. That could create the expectation to be bolder with the designs of future Genesis models.

“It’s not vulgar, it’s not excessive,” he says, referring to how he envisions the design of future Genesis models. “Genesis will not be loud — we are self-confident, we are a design-driven brand, and we believe in good taste and harmony.”

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Source: Motoring

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