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Hyundai Group design chief wants more differentiation between brands

 
Old 05-24-19, 12:16 PM
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Default Hyundai Group design chief wants more differentiation between brands

'Sexy' and 'sporty' Hyundai, 'young' and 'cool' Kia, 'haute couture' Genesis



Luc Donckerwolke, the man who oversees design at Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis, is determined to get more differentiation into the model range. He not only wants greater visual separation between all the models in the range, he also wants more distinction between Hyundai Group cars and others in the respective segments, and global distinctions so that a Hyundai in China doesn't necessarily look like one built for North America. He told Autocar, "We will not have a global design language because otherwise it's too rigid. [The alternative is] more work, but it's more flexible."

Donckerwolke gets an extreme look at the results of homogeneous design, because an enormous number of cars on the road in South Korea are Hyundai Group products. "[Our] core task is to differentiate the design philosophy of the three brands, not least because we have a big [around 70%] share in Korea. We need to differentiate each model, otherwise the landscape is too homogeneous."

Top-down, each brand gets a design brief. Hyundai will be Hyundai's "sexy, seductive and sensuous, sporty, eager and stylish," holding onto its value proposition while adding emotion. Kia will be "young, challenging and cool — cooler than before," said brand design chief Byungchul Juh, with Donckerwolke adding that it's about "streetwear — bold, fresh and young." And Genesis is "haute couture."

Donckerwolke characterizes the design philosophy as not "Russian dolls but ... chess pieces, with a look that reveals its own charismatic character. For example, Kia's used to be about the tiger nose grille, separate headlights and the lower intake. Now it's going to be more of a mask that will deliver sportiness and a presence." Kia designer Juh said, "There will be a distinct version of tiger face for each segment, and we'll keep the tiger nose grille. In principle it's the same, but there's a different interpretation for each segment, and more of a 3D feeling. We're moving from a nose to a face." The sketches we've seen of Kia's coming small global crossover take a first step, and we're told the next Sportage will make more impact than the new Tucson.

As for Hyundai, the next Sonata will "be the design flag-bearer." We wait to see how much of the vehicle all of this affects. But right now, look at the 2020 Elantra and Sonata from the front three-quarter; ignore their front fascias, and they're two sizes of one sausage.

It might be too late to put the Russian-doll approach back in the bottle, though, based on how difficult it's been for other brands with the same intentions. At best, the results end up in distinctions so fine that it even takes enthusiasts a long time to note them. Take Audi's head of design Marc Lichte, who's talked about more progressive, singular design since he assumed his position in 2014, then again in 2015, in 2016, in 2017, and 2018. The latest A8 was meant to signal the new regime. We think it still takes focus to figure out which Audi sedan or SUV is which from more than 20 feet away. BMW announced the same kind of push earlier this year.
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Old 05-24-19, 12:52 PM
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All that matters is if sales are doing well. US is the most important growth market. Are they doing well? And are they selling these Hyundai’s for comparable prices compared to Honda or Toyota? If not, Hyundai is just a second rate discount brand not unlike GM or Chrysler
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Old 05-24-19, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by LexsCTJill View Post
US is the most important growth market.
Right now, the Chinese market probably shows way more potential, but I don't know if Hyundai is actually selling there or not.
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Old 05-24-19, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by LexsCTJill View Post
All that matters is if sales are doing well. US is the most important growth market. Are they doing well? And are they selling these Hyundai’s for comparable prices compared to Honda or Toyota? If not, Hyundai is just a second rate discount brand not unlike GM or Chrysler
Still beating that same old drum huh?

Both hyundai and kia are up year to date so they’re doing well.

kia:
2019 ytd: 187,981
2018 comparable ytd: 177,530

Hyundai:
2019 ytd: 203,005
2018 comparable ytd: 199,550

so up some 14K total ytd, not too shabby.


as for prices, i don’t have source for avg transaction prices, but it seems to me hyundai/kia is doing great having refreshed several models recently and released some new ones.

Obviously they have a long way to go (if ever) to catch toyota and honda. But many other brands would love to have their ‘problems’...
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