• Dec 23, 2008
The Genesis Coupe isn't even out yet and the primary pen behind it is leaving the company. Joel Piaskowski, Hyundai Motor America's chief designer since 2003, is walking out the door.

Besides his work on the upcoming Genesis Coupe, Piaskowski is also known as being the driving force behind Hyundai's HCD concepts like the Hellion (above), and has been credited with beginning to develop a consistent design language among the automaker's vehicles.

For an interesting interview on car design featuring Piaskowski, General Motors' Ed Welburn, Franz von Holzhausen (formerly of Mazda, now with Tesla), and the New York Times' Phil Patton, check out this video on the Charlie Rose show by clicking here.

Piaskowski's tenure ends at the end of this month, and there is no word yet on where he is expected to end up.

[Source: Automotive News, Sub Req.]


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  • 22 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hyundai is one tough gig. They go through CEOs like crap through a goose.

      Acura needs him. The fugly front ends on current models drove me to buy an Infiniti.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agreed! unless he designed the front end of the Genesis. In that case please move along.

        Acura had some of the best looking cars until they killed the Legend and replaced it with the tl and rl, pure boring designs. Legend coupes still look awesome today.
      • 6 Years Ago
      hyundais will design itself.
      it will sell through other means like cost and overall quality.
      koreans dont care about some assholes vision about what a
      Korean car should look like.
      Start your own damn company.
      right now, it doesnt matter who is in charge of "design"
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's a good news for Hyundai. I hope he find a new job other than designing cars lol
      • 6 Years Ago
      Whoa --- !
      I am honestly stunned at the comments that are anything but extremely favorable for this guy.

      I, too, have worked in the same company as Joel, and I can assure you that he was VERY highly respected and thought of within. By the westerners AND easterners alike.

      Joel's sharp, yet personable style of management and discipline is quite honestly what brought the recent string of production and concept successes that the West-Coast studio is now known for, including the Genesis Coupe, Hyundai Talus Concept, The current successful Elantra, and much of the design work that became the Genesis Sedan. (and even two of the first Kia concepts that began to get design kudos, the Slice and the Mesa concepts, which were developed under his watch before Kia became its own West-Coast design entity under Tom Kearns.)

      I'm sure I'm missing some good stuff here, but my point doesn't require every single example to be made --- Joel and his design staff in the U.S. made tremendous contributions to the recent advancement of Hyundai as a respected design force and global automaker. Give the man his due!

      True, there's been a vehicle here and there that didn't seem to land as smartly, but when a brand is trying to find itself, there are going to be some experimental forays. Any top-notch brand, the world over, has had its own similar moments. Without risk, there is no finding new ground or learning what the boundaries are.

      I can say, with absolute certainty, that Joel will be missed -- and that the assets he brings to any company are not easily quantified or dismissed by an opinion of any one (or two) vehicles. Big picture, he has had a tremendously positive impact at the Korean H.

      Best Wishes to him in whatever new path he finds!
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree with Joel fan. I have worked with Joel as well and cannot understand any of these negative comments. Joel has had a positive influence on Hyundai design and is responsible for them becoming a much more serious contender in the marketplace. Joel also is not burdened by a huge ego but only wanted what was best for Hyundai and those at the Irvine Design Center. He has a management style that is supportive and not overbearing in the least. He always treated his employees as members of a team and is a person of integrity and class. Whoever is smart enough to grab him will be very fortunate. All the best to Joel and his future endeavors.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I went to school and worked with Joel for some years. He's a super talented designer and artist. Those belittling him have no clue how the design end of the car business works. Hyundai designs took a leap forward after hiring him. I suspect there is a clash with upper management warranting the resignation.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ..."Those belittling him have no clue how the design end of the car business works. "

        I agree with you 100% and that goes for all the others posting their "...they should do this.." and "...they should do that".

        Currently working in development at the other big H, I can tell you that things look much different from the inside out. Just talk to any person on the inside of any OEM or any person at a Tier1 supplier that is involved in development.

        Cheech
      • 6 Years Ago
      go sit in your Lazy Boy.
      • 6 Years Ago
      it would be nice if Joel returned the portfolio i sent him.
      the asshole needs design ideas i guess.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sorry I'm not impressed with his design work. The Hellion looks like a car that belongs in a Disney catoon movie. The Genesis coupe design doen't impress me either
        • 6 Years Ago
        Amen ... if all I had to go on was the picture of him with that fugly car shown above, well, yeah, I'd say "Good riddance!"
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think after seeing the rendering of the next Sonata which is derived from the Genesis sedan which in itself has a lot of cues from models of other luxury car brands, it was the last straw for him. I mean deriving a model from a copy? What's in the head of the CEO?
        • 6 Years Ago
        @none
        Quote;
        "The worst mistake was to not put the badge on the Genesis for lack of confidence. If the president lack confidence in his own brand then it would be better not even have created it in the first place."
        Corvette never wears a Bowtie.
        Sometimes a product is larger than its brand. I thought it was pretty smart for Hyundai to present Genesis as a brand.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Hyundai got no sense about designs. The worst mistake was to not put the badge on the Genesis for lack of confidence. If the president lack confidence in his own brand then it would be better not even have created it in the first place.
        • 6 Years Ago
        be careful what you ask for. Derivative design is often the best. I wish the Acura TL and TSX were more derivative, like say, the european accord. I wish the Mazda 3 had a more derivative front grill.

        And as for the grill without the hyundai emblem, they took a vote and people liked it best without the emblem. Chevy could stand less bowtie as well.
        • 6 Years Ago
        None -

        For the umpteenth time, Hyundai went w/ the badgeless "klingon" grill b/c that is what the CONSUMERS WANTED.

        Hyundai allowed the public to comment on 2 different grills, one more typical w/ the Hyundai logo and the "klingon" grill.

        The public voted overwhelmingly for the "klingon" grill.

        In addition, Hyundai correctly assessed that the Hyundai badge didn't exactly connote luxury (not a simple, elegant design) - just as the Toyota badge doesn't denote luxury as the much more simple/clean and elegant Lexus emblem.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sure, he is probably a nice guy, but what is that thing in the photograph he is touching? Did he design that?
      Kumail
      • 6 Years Ago
      i think he was doing a really good job... let's hope the new person can fill his shoes, and then some...
      • 6 Years Ago
      wow, finally he is gone. industry insiders know it very well that he was not very liked by people at hyundai.. in asian companies generally, you need something more than just the ability to talk... hope hyundai finds somebody who has good vision this time.
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