Hyundai Design Disciplines

Automotive

Published on July 17th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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Hyundai Design Disciplines

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Hyundai’s chief designer Peter Schreyer brings two kinds of discipline to his job. The first is to focus design on the car’s functions rather than some beautiful flowing lines he happened to draw on a piece of paper. The second is to know when to stop fighting for even small refinements, since they can disrupt engineering and manufacturing. Throwing his hands up, he compared this to a Formula 1 race-car driver who lets go of the steering wheel during a pit stop so he doesn’t drive off as the tires are being changed.

Hyundai’s pre-Schreyer designs were successful enough to help boost the share of U.S. buyers who said they would definitely consider the brand to 20% in 2011 from 1% in 1997. But Hyundai opted for conservative styling on one of its new Sonata sedans, and by 2014 the share had dropped to 14%, so Hyundai turned to Schreyer.

The company faces a long road in building Genesis into a full-blown luxury competitor. Evidence of this can be seen in Honda’s Acura brand and Nissan’s Infiniti which is still finding its feet when compared to German marques such as Mercedes and Audi in sales and pricing power and the rise of Lexus in all its markets.

The Koreans are taking aim at these brands and are “looking straight past Japan,” with Schreyer working hard to move the Genesis brand up and past the Germans. The company plans to introduce 6 new vehicles in the new few years, including sedans, crossovers and sports utilities.

“It’s very exciting being at the birth, which is now,” Schreyer said. “I want to see how this kid goes to university.”

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