Getting a brand new or redesigned mannequin off the drafting board and into showrooms isn’t like designing and posting a meme on Fb. It’s time consuming, and automakers run the danger of being left behind as rivals money in on the newest sizzling bodystyle or styling pattern.
Hyundai is aware of this, having underestimated the shopping for public’s affection for something with a excessive experience peak and rear liftgate. The Korean automaker made a bundle on its well-fleshed-out automobile lineup following the recession, however the seismic shift in the direction of SUVs and crossovers left it scrambling to bolster its three-vehicle utility lineup. The consequence? Stagnant gross sales.
This received’t occur underneath a brand new plan, the corporate’s senior vice chairman of design claims. Hyundai’s hitting the product throttle.
Chatting with Automotive Information, Luc Donckerwolke claims Hyundai’s product design cycle will quickly drop from three years to 1.5 years, rising its competitiveness. Dashing automobiles to manufacturing isn’t with out danger, however the opening of Hyundai’s large, $67 million Namyang R&D Middle close to Seoul ought to assist in terms of avoiding missteps.
“As life cycles get shorter, they are going to get drastically shorter,” Donckerwolke mentioned. “I’ve little doubt design could be shortened by half.”
The automaker’s design head feels his styling staff ought to have the event interval shaved by 30 % inside a yr and a half. All the higher for Hyundai, at present within the midst of a product push. The following new product, the controversially styled Kona subcompact crossover, arrives stateside in early 2018. Different utility automobiles carrying Hyundai and Genesis badges are scheduled for arrival within the close to future.
That styling staff’s accountability consists of transferring parts of the Kona to redesigned Hyundai crossovers. Amongst them, a revamped Santa Fe and Tucson. As a result of its premium standing, Genesis’ future fashions will go their very own approach, stylistically. Additionally, for the sake of the fledgling model, they’ll want to point out up sooner moderately than later.
Genesis needs its U.S. sellers separated from Hyundai retailers as shortly as attainable in a bid to reduce confusion surrounding the model and decide up slightly exclusivity. Presently, there’s solely two fashions inhabiting Genesis showrooms — the midsize G80 and full-size G90 sedans, with a smaller G70 on the way in which. However, as Hyundai noticed with its namesake model, it’s utilities patrons need. The earlier Genesis shares its showrooms with utility automobiles (there’s two on the way in which), the higher for everybody concerned.
Lee SangYup, vice chairman for design at Hyundai and Genesis, admits, “We wanted a extra streamlined course of.”
There’s apparently no lack of room on the new R&D middle, which Hyundai claims can have groups engaged on 25 car initiatives at a time. (The middle itself oversees 65 car initiatives overlaying the Hyundai and Genesis manufacturers.) Tellingly, regardless of all of the open area — which provides engineers an opportunity to stare at an unfinished product kind far away — there’s an enormous wall between the Hyundai camp and Genesis crew.
“We don’t need our model to be known as Hyundai-Genesis,” Lee mentioned.