Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo hinted during a site inspection trip to Europe this week that the auto giant would be shifting its focus from product quality to design.
“We have been pouring all our resources into elevating driving performance. Now is the time for us to seek a new leap in car design,” he said. “Hyundai and Kia also have to nurture their own design identity, respectively.”
Following his business trip to the group’s production facilities in Slovakia and the Czech Republic on Tuesday, the Hyundai chief visited the carmaker’s European design headquarters located in Ruesselsheim, Germany, on Wednesday.
|Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo (third from right) and the group’s design chief Peter Schreyer (second from right) check out new concept vehicles at the carmaker’s European design headquarters in Ruesselsheim, Germany, Wednesday. (Hyundai Motor)|
Accompanied by the group’s design chief and president Peter Schreyer, he looked around the design center, which works on improving design at both Hyundai Motor and its affiliate Kia Motors.
The group’s shift in strategy comes after a long period of focusing on product quality and driving excellence.
As part of the efforts, the group has teamed up with Hyundai Steel, its steel-making affiliate, to develop high-strength steel for enhanced safety.
Hyundai, starting with the revamped Genesis and Sonata sedans, has doubled the proportion of the steel in the framework of their new vehicles to almost half.
In September, the carmaker completed a test-driving area in Germany, which connects to the renowned racing circuit Nurburgring.
“The adoption of lightweight, high-strength steel has improved our car’s driving performance drastically.
If we add enhanced styling to this, we would be offering more satisfaction to our customers,” he said.
As part of the renewed focus on styling, Hyundai is promoting its Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 concept, an upgrade of the carmaker’s original design philosophy.
After the launch of the new Genesis in November, the refashioned Sonata sedan will be the second Hyundai model to feature the bolder but still refined styling concept.
The new Sonata will hit the market later this month.
Before returning to Korea, the chairman was also scheduled to visit the auto plant in St. Petersburg, Russia, which has been producing the top-selling Solaris subcompact.
By Lee Ji-yoon (email@example.com