Genesis, Hyundai's freshly minted top-level brand, is gaining another star design member with the hiring of Hans Lapine, who left the Volkswagen Group and took on his new assignment at Hyundai and Genesis on January 23.
In November 2015, Genesis was announced as a brand in its own right, designed to take on the world's premium marques. The hiring of Luc Donckerwolke, formerly of Audi, VW, Seat, Lamborghini and Bentley, underscored that the Koreans are dead serious – and it gave a decisive infusion of energy to the brand. Donckerwolke personally pitched the assignment to Lapine, whom he has known for several decades from working at the VW Group.
Genesis launched with the G80, a four-door sedan previously sold as the Hyundai Genesis, and the G90/EQ900, a stretched and somewhat conservative top-of-the-line model. It took the 2016 New York concept (below) to hint at the true potential of Hyundai's freshly minted premium brand.
One of the key ingredients in the global strategy of the brand will be a new California facility; Lapine has been tasked to create a dedicated studio in the Greater Los Angeles area with an extraordinary focus on digital technology and visualisation.
He will have a dual function as Director of Operations at Hyundai Design and Managing Director at Genesis Design in the USA. At Genesis, he will be working with John Krsteski and Chris Chapman, and report directly to Donckerwolke.
The 54-year-old design manager comes with a renowned background: Born in Detroit to Anatole ‘Tony’ Lapine, creator of several Opel racing cars and long-standing Porsche chief designer, he was educated both in Europe and the US before joining Porsche in the 1980s. There he worked on the prototype of the 956 race car, as well as customer projects for Harley-Davidson, Linde, McLaren and Yamaha. After a subsequent brief stint at Mercedes-Benz, he followed Harm Lagaay to BMW Technik, where he spent five years, working on projects like the legendary Z1 before joining the VW Group.
There, Lapine was responsible for turning the Quattro Spyder concept (above) into reality, and his career eventually led him to work at the VW studios in Simi Valley and Santa Monica.
A genuine car nut, animal advocate and passionate cook, Lapine keeps, restores and races sports cars like his Porsche 914/6 GT and a 944 Turbo Cup car; he is regularly accompanied at the track by his wife Sabine, an automotive designer herself.