SangYup Lee had worked as the head of exterior and advanced design for the exclusive British marque since 2013. Before his stint with Bentley, Mr Lee worked at Volkswagen America’s Advanced Design Centre in California, as a senior designer for Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini.
While Lee’s resumé with the German giant does not specify a particular concept or production car at Volkswagen, Lee is credited with contributing to several projects for Audi, Skoda, Porsche, Lamborghini, Volkswagen and Bentley.
Lee’s credentials reach back to an internship with iconic Italian design house Pininfarina and German performance manufacturer Porsche, while his first proper job was at General Motors, where, in 1999, he was the lead designer for the C6 Corvette.
Above: Lee led the design team that created the C6 Corvette
With General Motors, Lee worked on several other concepts in the 2000s, including the Corvette Stingray, Buick Velite, Cadillac Sixteen, and most notably, the Camaro concept which became the star of the Transformers movie as ‘Bumblebee’.
Lee’s new role with Hyundai includes developing design direction and strategies for the Korean brand, leading innovations in interior and exterior design, along with colour and materials used in upcoming Hyundai and Genesis vehicles.
Luc Donckerwolke, senior vice president at Hyundai, said: “Vice president Lee has proven himself as one of the world’s best automotive designers in the global platform. His design philosophy to pursue new challenges and innovations matches the DNA of Hyundai Motor”.
Above: SangYup Lee with the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro
Donckerwolke is himself a recent hire from Bentley, and it is likely that the Belgian designer was a key figure in bringing Lee into the Hyundai fold.
In a statement announcing his joining the group, Lee spoke of ambitions to create and contribute to the styling of the growing Korean brand.
“The innovative design and surprising growth of Hyundai Motor has always made me proud as a Korean while I worked overseas. Now, I want to contribute in creating world-leading automobile designs for both Hyundai Motor and the Genesis brand,” he said.
Hyundai believes that having the most successful Korean designer in the automotive industry will help to establish a design identity for its Genesis luxury brand.