Hyundai Motor Company announced that it has hired the former Lamborghini executive, Manfred Fitzgerald, in an attempt to lose the value-for-money brand image and switch to a more luxurious recognitions among its potential drivers.
Fitzgerald, 52, who was the brand and design director at the Italian supercarmaker, is now going to be the senior vice president at Hyundai Motor and will oversee the carmaker’s strategy at a global level regarding its luxury car brand Genesis.
The former Lamborghini exec left the brand back in 2011 to work for the German Loewe Technologies GmbH, which produces and sells different electronic, electrical and mechanical products and systems in the communication technology area. Two years later, Fitzgerald started his own brand consultancy company under the name of ʺThe Brand and Design Companyʺ.
The fifth biggest carmaker alongside Kia Motors, Hyundai announced last month the release of the Genesis brand, which targets a high-growth and lucrative premium segment to bring in bigger sales.
Fitzgerald will start working at the automaker’s headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, and will be one of the few non-Korean executives together with the automaker’s Chief Design Officer – Peter Schreyer, Luc Donkerwolke from Bentley and Albert Biermann, former BMW M Vice President of Engineering.
Lee Hang-koo, senior researcher from the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade commented on the topic, saying that “The challenge for foreign executives is to harmonise with locals, while building Hyundai’s own identity in the premium market as an Asian automaker.”
A spokeswoman for Hyundai stated that Manfred Fitzgerald will at first report to the Chief Marketing Officer of the brand, Cho Won-hong, who has been working for Hyundai since 2010.