Bentley chooses VW veteran Donckerwolke as design boss
Luc Donckerwolke started as a designer at Audi in 1992.
Dirk van Braeckel, the 54-year-old Belgian who authored the modern look of Bentley, has been replaced as the brand's top designer by Luc Donckerwolke, Volkswagen Group's head of advanced design.
As Bentley's styling boss since 1999, van Braeckel was the second longest serving vehicle brand or automaker design chief in the world -- after Ford Motor Co.'s J Mays.
Bentley built its sales renaissance on the look of van Braeckel's Continental GT. He will move to an unspecified design position within the VW Group.
Donckerwolke, 47, and also Belgian, began as a designer at Audi in 1992 and has worked for several VW Group brands, including Lamborghini, Seat and Skoda. His work at Lamborghini included the designs of the Murcielago and Gallardo.
"Luc Donckerwolke brings a wealth of design talent to Bentley. His extensive experience makes him the ideal person to take forward Bentley's future design language, at a time when the company has significant plans for new models," said Walter de Silva, VW Group's design chief, in a statement.
Bentley is likely to significantly increase future sales if it goes ahead with production of a superluxury SUV based on the EXP 9F Concept, first introduced at the Geneva auto show in March.
Earlier this year, Bentley's then CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer told Automotive News Europe that, if it were approved, the SUV's annual sales could hit 3,500 to 5,000. That would be significant for a brand that sold 7,003 cars in 2011.
Automotive News contributed to this report