Thursday, February 23, 2017

Head of the class | 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric First Drive

With the Ioniq family, Hyundai has cooked up a recipe that looks really good on paper. As with the pair of hybrid models, the Ioniq Electric combines a high level of efficiency with a nice price and styling that is neither drab nor audacious. This is uncharted territory for Hyundai, though. The dedicated platform shared by this trio of electrified vehicles is completely new, and the electric version is the brand's very first battery-electric vehicle. Hyundai's approach means the Ioniq can carve out its own space in the market and capture the attention – and dollars – of eco-minded buyers on a budget.

The three Ioniq offerings are all very similar, both in appearance and in underlying technology. The Ioniq Electric, though, is the only one without a gasoline engine (and, for that matter, without the six-speed dual-clutch transmission the hybrids use). For propulsion, it relies solely on its 88-kW (118-horsepower) electric motor, which provides 215 pound-feet of torque. A 28-kWh battery pack supplies the energy, giving it a respectable 124 miles of driving range between charges.

"Wait a minute, Scoob," you might be saying. "Only 124 miles? The Chevy Bolt goes 238 miles on a full battery." Yes, that's right. The Bolt is kind of a young, tough shark swimming in the same waters into which Hyundai is dipping its toes. The Bolt, though, has a starting MSRP of $37,495, which is a big sack of ducats for a compact car. It's also $7,160 more than the Ioniq Electric. We'll revisit the price in a little bit.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Same as in the hybrids, the Ioniq EV's interior is attractive and comfortable. The seats are supportive, and it's easy to find a cozy position behind the adjustable steering wheel. Taller occupants might find headroom in short supply, at least in models equipped with a sunroof. The materials are all attractive and nice to the touch, tiller included. The digital instrument cluster is fairly simple, and toggles on the steering wheel allow you to put the information you want right in front of you. The 7.0-inch central touchscreen is attractive, although the large amount of information and features available in the various menus could be a little difficult to navigate for some. Others will appreciate the ability to monitor their energy usage, customize settings, find charging stations, and project their smartphone onto the screen via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. There's even available wireless charging for phones that support it.

The Ioniq Electric, like its hybrid siblings, is supremely smooth and quiet. Instead of a lever, the "gear" selector in the EV is a group of buttons on the center console in front of the armrest. Hit the "D" button, tap the accelerator, and you're off, moving down the road in near-silence. It's not a particularly quick car, hitting 60 mph in about 10 seconds, but what it lacks in outright grunt it makes up for in efficiency and refinement.

The Ioniq Electric is easy to drive, tracking nicely on the highway despite its small stature. The placement of its battery pack means a low center of gravity, and the body feels nice and stiff as it eases through corners. While the hybrid models feature a multi-link rear suspension, the Ioniq Electric has a simpler torsion-beam rear to make room for its larger battery; as a result, it tends to bound a tiny bit more over uneven pavement. Overall, it's a polished and comfortable car to drive, with a temperament that allows for some light horseplay. 

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

While it'll dance a few steps, much of the driving joy is of the cerebral sort that an electric powertrain offers. Unlike the Ioniq Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid, which both keep the driver interface simple, the Electric gives drivers more opportunities to take control of and monitor the experience.

A major highlight of the Ioniq Electric is its regenerative braking system. Instead of switching gears (this EV uses just the one reductive gear), paddles on the back of the steering wheel increase or decrease the level of regenerative braking. In addition to the standard coasting (regen level 0), there are three successive levels of regeneration, the highest of which allows for one-pedal driving. We weren't initially all that interested in the regen feature, but having the paddles at our fingertips made it too enticing not to use.

After just a few minutes behind the wheel, we found ourselves switching between them fluently and without thought, selecting the level based on road grade and traffic. It takes a little getting used to, including a shift in some of the driving reflexes that become automatic after decades behind the wheel, but it's a satisfying way to drive, with a focus on timing and smoothness. While this feature is exclusive to the all-electric Ioniq, after using it, we wish it were available on the hybrid models, too, despite the fact it would complicate their straightforward, more mainstream driving experience.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

On the center console, behind the gear selection buttons, is a "Drive Mode" button, which lets you switch between Normal, Eco, and Sport settings. In addition to the throttle and steering adjustments, the various modes also control regenerative braking levels and climate control. The driver can specify their own regen and climate settings for each mode, as well as set a maximum speed for Eco. While a number of cars, especially luxury models, offer underutilized driver-customizable modes, the enthusiastic and tech-savvy EV crowd seems far more likely to take advantage of this feature.

Back to that pricing thing. The cost premium of EVs is a major barrier for entry, Hyundai has noticed (along with the rest of us patiently waiting to turn in our gas cars for EVs). Pricing the Ioniq at $30,335 significantly lowers that barrier, especially when you consider additional federal and possible local incentives. In the car's main market of California, you could nab one for around $20,000. A lifetime battery warranty sweetens the deal.

In terms of the range, unless you regularly drive 200 miles in a day, or can't bear sitting at a DC fast charger for a half hour now and again when you need to travel longer distances, you might prefer to keep that $7,000 in your bank account instead of opting for a Bolt. The Ioniq is also more efficient and, thus, cheaper to operate, providing nearly an extra half-mile per kWh. Unless you absolutely need the extra pep and range the Bolt offers, for the eco-conscious driver on a budget, the Ioniq EV makes sense.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Then there's the Nissan Leaf, which is closer in price to the Ioniq Electric. The Leaf starts at $31,545, still $1,500 more than the Ioniq, with an EPA driving range that comes up 17 miles short. That's not so bad, but it won't charge nearly as quickly unless you shell out another $1,700 (or choose a higher trim level) to get the 6.6-kW onboard charger. Nissan does offer free public charging for two years in select markets with its "No Charge to Charge" program, although most people charge at home, making that less valuable. Plus, the Leaf looks like a loaf of bread. Advantage: Hyundai.

(This could shift, though, as a 200-mile Leaf is in the works. Similarly, Hyundai says it is also planning a longer-range EV.)

Some potential customers in California might be wooed by Hyundai's unlimited subscription model for the Ioniq Electric, the details of which are still in the works. A 36-month lease includes unlimited mileage for a yet-unannounced monthly fee, which will depend on the trim level and options selected. Hyundai will provide free scheduled maintenance, as well as replacement of any items that wear out within 50,000 miles (like tires, brakes, and wiper blades). Hyundai will also reimburse the driver for charging for up to 50,000 miles (calculated using average electricity cost per kWh versus the mileage data gathered through Hyundai Bluelink). For customers, it could be an enticing deal. For the rest of us, it's an interesting experiment to see if it increases EV adoption.

The Ioniq Electric goes on sale in April, beginning in California, followed by other ZEV states. If you don't live in one of the car's main markets, you can custom order the Ioniq through your local dealer, but you might want to make sure they've elected the training to service the Ioniq Electric.

The Ioniq Electric gets a lot right, and its formula could help encourage many holdouts to ditch their tailpipes. This car is easy on the pocketbook and the eyes, offers an industry-beating level of efficiency, and is somehow also a pleasure to drive. Let's hope Hyundai gets comfortable with being an EV brand soon. At least for now, the Ioniq Electric's greatest handicap might just be in Hyundai's cautious rollout.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tech War: Prius Prime vs. Hyundai Ioniq

By a lucky coincidence, I had a chance to drive both the 2017 Prius Prime and the 2017 Hyundai Ioniq in the same week. The Prius Prime is a plug-in hybrid with a futuristic vibe; the Hyundai Ioniq comes in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric versions.
The Prius lineup and the Ioniq lineup are competing for the same buyers, so there will be plenty of comparisons in the automotive press. But this is TechCrunch, so let’s take a look at the technology in each.
Instrument cluster
The first thing anyone is going to look at as soon as they slide into the driver’s seat is the dashboard. The Hyundai Ioniq puts everything where you expect it to be, with a TFT LCD cluster right in front of you. Controls on the steering wheel allow you to choose which information (besides the basics like speed and fuel level) is displayed.
If you’ve never been in a Prius, you might be surprised to have to look a bit to the right to see your instrument cluster. It’s in the center of the dashboard under a curved plastic cowl. There’s loads of information over there, and you can select what’s displayed. It looks, cool but requires you to glance sideways while you’re driving. The Prius Prime I tested had a heads-up display that I found very useful for just this reason.
The Ioniq hybrid I test drove had a clean, basic center console with an 8-inch touch screen with navigation included as part of the Ultimate package. Standard equipment included Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system. (I also drove the EV version, which had a nearly identical infotainment system.)
The Prime Advanced that I tested, which is the top of the Prime line, had a massive 11.6-inch display, but no integration for Apple or Android phones. It was compatible with Siri Eyes-Free and had Toyota’s Entune App Suite, which includes Pandora, iHeartRadio, OpenTable, traffic and weather.
The Prius Prime comes with Toyota Safety Sense, which is standard on most of its new cars. It includes pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist and radar cruise control. These aren’t standard features for the Ioniq, but the Ultimate package I tested did have similar safety tech. Both vehicles come with a rear-view camera, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts.
The Prius Prime Advanced adds Prime Apps that can be used to manage your charging status from your phone, find a charging station, warm or cool the interior while it’s still plugged in to preserve range and find your vehicle when you’ve forgotten where you parked it.
Hyundai takes that further by connecting the Ioniq to everything it can. Blue Link does all that Prime Apps do, plus integrates with Amazon Alexa (and soon Google Assistant), Apple Watch and Android Wear watches. And it has roadside assistance and stolen vehicle recovery.
Which vehicle has the best tech depends on what you want your vehicle to do. If the idea of Alexa monitoring your every move gives you the creeps, maybe the super-connected Ioniq is too much. But if you have to have Android Auto, the Prius Prime won’t have it. If you like quirky, the Prius Prime exudes quirky. If you want a low-key commuter car, the Ioniq blends in on the highway.
And if you absolutely must have wireless charging for your phone, your decision just got harder. Both the Prius Prime and the Hyundai Ioniq have it available.

Monday, February 20, 2017

2017 Hyundai Elantra Sport Test Drive

Q-ships are diabolical things.
They’re designed to look like simple transport, but are packed to the gunwales with enough weaponry to take down unsuspecting foes who think they’re easy prey.
Why aren’t I writing about cars this week? I am.
Well, the term was originally a nautical one. Q-ships — merchant ships with concealed weapons — are the Trojan horses of the sea. They have participated in naval warfare for hundreds of years, but they were widely used against submarines in the World Wars of the 20th century. Their name refers to the Queenstown, Ireland, port where many were based during World War I.
But the term has also come to be applied to low-profile, high-performance cars, typically bland luxury sedans with enough power to blow away flashy sports cars without drawing undue attention to themselves. Hyundai has now democratized that idea with its new Elantra Sport — though perhaps it’s overdue, as the company that founded it runs one of the world’s largest shipbuilding operations.

The Sport is the most powerful Elantra ever, but it’s subtle. One could be parked next to your desk right now and you’d never know it. It does get a black grille surround, unique headlamps, LED accent lights, small rocker panel extensions and a chin spoiler that’s low enough for me to scrape on a curb, but it looks neither fast nor furious in your rearview mirror. It’s only after it passes you, and you see its dual exhaust pipes receding into the distance, that you realize you’ve been duped.
It could happen. The Sport is no Corvette (the car or the ship), but with a very eager 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, it is quick in the tradition of hot compact hatchbacks, even though it has a trunk. It’s available with a six-speed manual transmission that’s a delight to operate for $22,450, or with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic with racy paddle shifters that can be had for an extra $1,100, making it the cheapest sedan with more than 200 horsepower – 201 hp, to be exact.
Just as important, the Sport gets an independent rear suspension that the other Elantras don’t have. This is mainly to improve its handling, but it also gives it a better overall ride. This kind of update is no small effort, and indicates how seriously Hyundai took the development of the Sport.
Changes to the Elantra’s dull-but-enormous cabin are limited to mildly racy fonts on the gauges, a couple of strips of fake carbon fiber trim, red stitching, the requisite flat-bottom steering wheel and a set of deeply-bolstered bucket seats that wouldn’t look or feel out of place in a sports car that cost twice as much.
Those seats come in handy in the curves, where the front-wheel-drive Sport grips tenaciously and remains as neutral as Taylor Swift’s politics. It’s only at the very limits, not reached on a public road without breaking a few laws, that it loses its composure. But the Sport is about as street-fast as a car needs to be to deliver an entertaining short doses. Its 30 mpg highway rating is unimpressive for a brand known for its efficiency.
Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a boy racer ride without the boy racer style, it’s worth checking the Sport out at your local Hyundai lot. You might like what you see, if you can find one.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Chicago Auto Show: Hyundai reveals Elantra GT hatchback

CHICAGO — Hyundai isn't giving up on hatchbacks and believes Americans might be willing to buy more than in the past.
That's why the Korean automaker revealed an all-new version of its Elantra hatchback Thursday at the Chicago Auto Show that is lower, wider, and longer than the outgoing version. Hyundai says its new Elantra GT has a more aggressive stance and has added interior volume to its European style.

With 55 cubic feet of interior space, Hyundai says the new GT has more space than any other compact hatchback in the market today.
The Hyundai GT competes against hatchback versions of the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus, Honda CivicMazda3 and Volkswagen Golf.
In Europe, where hatchbacks are referred to as "the boot," five-door vehicles like the Elantra GT are more popular than sedans. In America, they are far less popular. But Hyundai says it expects sales of its new Elantra hatchback will exceed 15% of overall Elantra sales, or about 5% more than its current sales mix of Elantras.
The Elantra has been a core part of Hyundai's lineup for years and was the automaker's top-selling car in the U.S. in 2016 even as overall industry sales of cars fell. Hyundai sold more than 208,000 Elantra sedans and hatchbacks in 2016, a 13.8% decline compared with the prior year.
The 2018 Elantra hatchback will be offered in two versions -- the GT and the GT Sport -- when it goes on sale this summer.
The Elantra GT will be powered by a 2-liter, 4-cylinder engine that produces 162 horsepower. The GT Sport will be powered by a 1.6-liter turbo engine with 201 horsepower.
"The new Elantra GT brings more to the North American shores for the 2018 model year,” Scott Margason, Hyundai's director of product planning, said in a statement. “More space and features inside. More aggression and European flair outside. And more options under the hood. I’m particularly excited to showcase the GT Sport, a true hot hatch.”

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Hyundai Ioniq Electric Will Be Available For Sale In US This Week

Hyundai announced last year that the hybrid and battery electric versions of the Ioniq would go on sale in America during the winter. The Ioniq will offer customers three power train choices — a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid, and a battery electric. Winter is with us for another 6 weeks, according to the calendar. Mike O’Brien, vice president-product planning for Hyundai Motor America, says the Ioniq Hybrid and Electric will go on sale next week.
Hyundai Ioniq Electric
O’Brien says, “Our focus was on developing a great compact car that happens to be electrified. There were around 1.1 million buyers who shopped for an EV last year, but because of cost or maintenance or durability…or that they felt the car was too under powered…they didn’t buy one. We are offering a no-excuse electrified vehicle that measures up to compact vehicles in the segment.”
It is that a way of responding to Elon Musk’s challenge to other manufacturers to build “compelling” electric cars? It sure sounds like it. Prices for the Ioniq Electric have not been announced. That information will be coming along shortly, but the price will likely undercut other similar cars by a significant margin. Hyundai’s corporate sibling, Kia, has priced its new Niro Hybrid thousands less than a comparable Prius or Toyota RAV 4 Hybrid. The Kia Niro starts at around $22,000.
O’Brien says the Ioniq Electric will undergo a “soft launch” for now. A more robust marketing campaign is planned for later in March. One way Hyundai will keep the price of its new electric car low is by limiting the size of its battery to 28 kWh. So equipped, it earns a 150 MPGe rating from the EPA — which makes it the most energy efficient car sold in the US. The Toyota Prius Prime is next with a rating of 133 MPGe. 
Officially, range for the Ioniq is listed as 135 miles city, 110 miles highway, and 124 miles combined. Is that going to be a problem for consumers? It shouldn’t be. The average US driver only goes less than 50 miles a day, meaning the Ioniq Electric will have more than enough range for the needs of most drivers. Dedicated Tesla fan Bjorn Nyland test drove one recently in Europe and gave it a rave review, calling it almost as good as his Tesla in some respects.
Still, people seem to have the notion that they “need” 200 miles of range, just as many believe they absolutely “need” the power of a V8 engine. But if the Ioniq Electric is indeed competitive with the price of other compact cars, that objection may be easily overcome.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Operation Better: Hyundai To Deliver A Better Super Bowl Experience For The Real Heroes

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Feb. 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- At Super Bowl LI, some of the better moments will happen off the field in the hearts of those who make the Super Bowl possible. Hyundai Motor America, an official sponsor of the NFL and Super Bowl 50 USA Today Ad Meter winner, is bringing a first of its kind experience to those that deserve it most, by making this year's game better for our soldiers overseas.
View photos
Hyundai will transport several U.S. troops from a base overseas to the heart of the action in stadium. Using custom built 360-degree immersive pods, Hyundai will allow the soldiers to feel as though they are in the stadium.
As announced recently, Hyundai and its marketing agency partner INNOCEAN Worldwide are working with renowned director Peter Berg (Patriots DayDeepwater HorizonLone Survivor), Pony Show, and Film 45, to bring this never done before idea to life. The team will shoot, edit and produce a 90-second documentary in real time that captures this incredible experience. This piece will run after the final whistle in the first commercial break immediately following the conclusion of the game, before the trophy ceremony. Hyundai released two teasers during the AFC and NFC Championship weekend, featuring Super Bowl champions Joe Montana and Mike Singletary that hint at Hyundai's creative. The full story will be told when the 90-second piece airs after the game.
"Hyundai has always had a strong relationship with the U.S. Armed Forces, and we wanted to give those who make the love and passion for football possible a unique and better experience," said Dean Evans, CMO, Hyundai Motor America. "'Better' is our driving force and this campaign is an act of that brand philosophy. Using the latest innovations in video technology we will give our troops an experience they will never forget and one that viewers won't want to miss."
"This project combines two of my greatest passions—football and the military," said Peter Berg. "I'm incredibly proud to be partnering with the Hyundai and INNOCEAN teams to bring the troops a better Super Bowl experience through cutting-edge technology. Editing the piece during the game itself is going to be intense, but we will have an incredible team in place on multiple continents to pull off this feat."
"Doing something that's bigger than a commercial and can help bring our country together when it seems impossibly divided is incredible," said Eric Springer, Chief Creative Officer, INNOCEAN. "We wanted a challenge for this year's Super Bowl, and we certainly gave ourselves one."
This initiative continues and builds upon Hyundai Motor America's commitment to the U.S. Armed Forces. G.I. Jobs named Hyundai a Top Military Friendly employer in 2017 and last year, Hyundai was recognized by as one of the Most Valuable Employers for Military, the only automaker to receive the honor. For several years, Hyundai has offered special discounts to military personnel and honored Memorial Day by enhancing its Military Incentive Program, aiding U.S. troops in purchasing a Hyundai vehicle.   
To learn more about this program, view the teaser content and the final documentary film immediately following the Super Bowl, please visit

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Jan. 27, 2017 – The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and Sonata were honored with The Car Book’s BEST BETS distinction. The Car Book recognizes vehicles that adequately cater to the safety and performance needs of the American car buyer.

The Car Book, the first and longest standing car buying guide, has helped consumers make educated decisions for 37 years. The Center for Auto Safety and The Car Book review the new vehicles in nine categories: crash tests, safety features, rollover, preventative maintenance, repair costs, warranty, fuel economy, complaints, and insurance.

“At Hyundai, we strive to be better,” said Scott Margason, director, product planning, Hyundai Motor America. “The BEST BET recognition proves that we provide our customers with the utmost in advancements when it comes to safety and performance.”

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
With a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) five-star safety rating, the 2017 Santa Fe Sport provides crash protection and rollover safety exceeding what is required by Federal Law.
  • New safety equipment includes available:
    • Multi-View Camera System
    • Lane Departure Warning
    • Dynamic Bending Lights and High Beam Assist
  • Standard safety equipment includes:
    • Rearview Camera
    • Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Traction Control System
    • Seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag
    • Four-wheel disc brakes and ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
    • Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) with Downhill Brake Control (DBC)
    • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) indicators for each tire

2017 Hyundai Sonata
The 2017 Sonata standard safety equipment includes:
  • Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Traction Control System
  •  A driver’s side blind-spot mirror
  • Seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag
  • Four-wheel disc brakes and ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with indicators for each tire. 

HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICAHyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 830 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle limited warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty and five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance. Hyundai Blue Link Connected Care provides owners of Hyundai models equipped with the Blue Link telematics system with proactive safety and car care services complimentary for one year with enrollment. These services include Automatic Collision Notification, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Vehicle Diagnostic Alert, Monthly Vehicle Health Report and In-Vehicle Service Scheduling.

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Story Behind The New Global Luxury Car Brand Genesis

Genesis New York Concept
Genesis New York Concept

Peter Schreyer is a much revered figure within the auto design world. A mere mention of his name, and colleagues smile with admiration for he is credited for sketching the original TT - the 1998 Audi that turned heads with its formal simplicity, clean aesthetic and cool Bauhaus-inspired design.
Nowadays, as creative director of Hyundai-Kia and one of three presidents of the company, Schreyer has been instrumental in creating the existing theme. Under his astute eyes, the South Korean company has metamorphosed into an exciting car brand with an inspired portfolio to compete head-on with older, more established rivals. Lately, Schreyer has been busy inventing a new global luxury marque, Genesis.
“Recently a journalist asked if the world needs another luxury brand,” he offers as we settle down for coffee, “to which I replied: ‘I don’t know but Hyundai wants a luxury brand’,” he smiles. The South Korean economy is blossoming, as is Hyundai-Kia. “I think the time has come and we need to be building something special at the pinnacle of the brand. It fits with the Korean mentality.”

Peter Schreyer honored in the 2013 Golden Steering Wheel awards
Peter Schreyer honored in the 2013 Golden Steering Wheel awards
Genesis is being developed primarily for the US, South Korea, Middle East and China, with the European markets planned in the horizon. The idea is to deliver six new models before 2020. The G90 and G80 have already been launched, there will be a G70 followed by two SUVs and a sports coupĂ©.
I’m interested in Schreyer’s take on his second home for the German spends much of his time commuting between the design studios in Russelsheim and Seoul. “There is a duality to Korean culture – on the one hand they are very daring but also strategic thinkers.” It is a culture deeply rooted in tradition and craftsmanship, yet on the polar side is hyper modernity, “the electronics, tech, art, fashion, music, K-pop - there is such a vibe in Seoul,” his face lights up, “and knowingly or unknowingly it influences us designers.”
We discuss the concept of modern luxury, of how a new car marque like Genesis has the chance for a fresh approach, explore new materials that resonate with the millennials, respond to their wants, their needs. Schreyer admits that he is very much aware of the urgency to rethink the automobile for younger generations who are not connecting so strongly with traditional concepts of luxury.
He offers: “This is a very interesting subject for us: how to use intelligent fabrics, how to express modern luxury.” To this end his team are working with students at the prestigious London Royal College of Art and the Art Centre College in California researching new ways to express luxury that are, according to him, more exciting and rewarding.
Recently, Schreyer ruffled a few auto feathers as he hired the former Bentley design boss, the maverick Luc Donckerwolke and Lamborghini’s Manfred Fitzgerald to head up the Genesis creative studio. The strong team of creatives indicates Hyundai-Kia’s high hopes for Genesis.
I ask Schreyer how he would define the marque. His answer is candid: “As it is something totally new, it is something we’re still working on. We try not to copy other brands but make our own story.” With its restrained sensibility the New York Concept, the hybrid sports sedan revealed at the New York Auto Show in March, is a good screen shot of this design philosophy. It will form the basis for the upcoming G70 and Schreyer admits some elements will find their way to future Genesis cars.

Genesis New York Concept
New York Concept

He is visibly thrilled about this new venture. “It is a great project; you see we get to design a new brand the way we feel it should be. We have a great opportunity here. We have Hyundai and Kia, but Genesis is something completely different. It has to be a brand on its own. This is important from an intellectual side.”
Earlier in the week I popped by London’s Tate Modern gallery to see French artist Philippe Parreno’s mesmerising light installation take over the length and the height of the Turbine Hall. This is the annual Hyundai Commission project which sees an international artist create site-specific work for this epic space – and the funding by the car company is fundamental to these creative projects.
I tell Schreyer that a little while ago his colleague Donckerwolke showed me a colorful abstract painting of his. I didn’t realize he dabbles in art. He smiles, nodding enthusiastically: “I wanted to be an artist since I was 14. I wanted to be Dali!” But does the free-thinking world of the fine arts feed into his more restricted transport design world? “We can learn a great deal from art and the way artists think,” he responds. “Questions are always arising in design and I say to my team, always try to think completely in the opposite direction.”