Volkswagen announced that Bentley design chief Luc Donckerwolke has left the company. Last March, Donckerwolke was in news reports when he claimed that Lincoln had copied his Flying Spur design. Before becoming a part of Bentley in 2012, the 49-year-old veteran of the Volkswagen Group oversaw design for Lamborghini and Seat.
In Volkswagen’s statement, it didn’t give a reason for his departure. Taking over in the position he left is Stefan Sielaff. At the New York auto show that took place in late March, Donckerwolke felt slighted at how the 2016 Lincoln Continental was designed, even going as far as to post on Facebook this comment: “Do you want us to send you the product tooling?” Car Design News reported this snide comment, which Lincoln’s head designer, David Woodhouse, took offense at.
Donckerwolke is credited for the designs of the Audi R8 Le Mans, the Lamborghini Murcielago and Gallardo, and even the Seat Tribu SUV concept. At a high point in his career, he won the prestigious Red Dot design award. In the statement, head of VW group design Walter de Silva said that VW Group is thanking Donckerwolke for having had a key role in the design of different VW Group brands.
Next month, Sielaff will start work as the design chief at Bentley. Sielaff is 53 years old and has most recently led VW’s Potsdam design center in Germany. He first became a part of Volkswagen in 1999 at Audi’s interior design department. He worked at DaimlerChrysler for three years before going back to VW in 2006 to head Audi’s design.
In 2012, he was named as the head of the Volkswagen design center in Potsdam and chief of group interior design strategy. As director of design, Sielaff will report to engineering chief Rolf Frech. He will continue to function as the head of group interior design strategy, where he will still report to de Silva.
Wolfgang Dürheimer, Chairman and CEO at Bentley Motors, said that Sielaff has the “creative vision and passion” to oversee the design of future models as the brand enters “one of the most important phases” in its history.
Dürheimer also said that he is grateful to Donckerwolke for his “significant contribution” during his almost three years with the brand. He ended his statement by saying that he wishes him “all the very best for the future.”