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“Everything starts with a blank piece of paper”

Genesis Head of Design Luc Donckerwolke on the new luxury brand conquering the USA

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“We’re challenging ourselves, and that is the best prerequisite to create a new brand”. Anyone who has followed Genesis’ launch into the luxury US market over the last 12 months cannot fail to agree: nowhere is the new Korean marque’s ambition around design and performance more apparent than the mighty Essentia Concept, launched amid great secrecy to dominate the conversation at the New York Motor Show last year.

“The Essentia came as an adventure, as a discovery as well. The car evolved though its really short life from being a sports car to a gran turismo. It found its way, and it was almost natural. This is also one of the characteristics of Genesis.” So says Genesis Head of Design Luc Donckerwolke in Genesis’ new US video, which you can see above in an exclusive extended edition for TopGear.com.

Luc Donckerwolke knows a thing or two about car design: over the years he has been responsible for the iconic and varied likes of the Audi A2, Seat Ibiza, and Lamborghini Gallardo and Murcielago. Now at Genesis, it was his vision – alongside executive Vice President Manfred Fitzgerald – that brought the Essentia to New York and the Genesis lineup to the USA.

And those elements that made up the Essentia – “the aura, the soul of Genesis” – have landed in the USA in the form of the G70, the third car in the Genesis lineup, a luxury sport sedan with an engineering set-up from Albert Biermann (ex-BMW M Division). It’s available with a 2.0 litre engine good for 252bhp, or a range-topping twin-turbocharged 3.3 litre V6 which will propel you from 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds. The athletic level of performance wrapped in a cutting-edge design has been turning heads since landing on US shores earlier this year. As Luc says: “it’s a car for connoisseurs of high craftsmanship and high driving dynamics.”

For more from Luc Donckerwolke on the Essentia Concept, the Genesis G70 and the future for Genesis in the USA, read on for an exclusive interview. And for more information on the Genesis G70 in the USA – and to configure your new model – just head to the Genesis site here.

Can you tell us the story of how you came to become the head of design for Genesis?

I was at home during my nine months non-compete after leaving my previous employer (a British luxury car maker) to join Hyundai. And then I got a call saying that I was going to take over the design leadership of a new luxury brand that would be announced in the next couple of days as well.  

What are the elements that set apart a Genesis car from the competition?

We are audacious, progressive and distinctly Korean. 

And the latest car to launch is the Genesis G70 – what is the philosophy behind this car?

It is a sporty, dynamic and sexy sedan. 

What are your favourite details in the Genesis G70?

The sexy muscles centered on the wheels and the incredible proportions, the small front overhang, the long dash to axle, the long and wide bonnet, and the fluid silhouette.

How important are its Korean roots to the design and engineering of the G70?

They are a differentiator. We embody high-tech in a high-quality body, with non-arrogant but self-confident design. We apply the beauty of emptiness - a Korean philosophy – that mandates a respect of design elements by orchestrating them with care. 

And who are we going to see behind the wheel of the G70 when it lands in the USA?

The connoisseurs of high craftsmanship, coupled with high driving dynamics. 

Who do you see as the key rivals to the G70 in the USA?

I did not target any brand to make sure the styling would be unique. 

The US market is traditionally tricky to break into for non-American car makers – what have been the keys to Genesis’ success to date?

Self-confidence, professionalism and high level of technical competence. 

Another of your designs for Genesis – the recent Essentia Concept – has wowed crowds around the world since its reveal. How important is it to the future of Genesis?

It is the aura, the soul of Genesis. It is also the proof that it is time to come back to pure, “non-dirty”, non-vulgar design.

What are we going to see next from Genesis?

A complete line up of vehicles that embody the athletic elegance philosophy. But the details are still top secret!

Are electric cars inevitably the future of transport?

Zero emission and ultra-low emission vehicles are inevitable

Luc, what is your dream car?

The one I will design next

And the car you wish you had designed?

An icon that survives 50 years, like the 1963 Porsche 911.  

For more information on the Genesis G70 in the USA – and to configure your new model – head to the Genesis site here.

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