Hyundai seeks new de­sign di­rec­tion to be­come de­sign trend­set­ter

Global Times - - Biz Update -

South Korean au­tomaker Hyundai is head­ing for­ward by ex­e­cut­ing a new de­sign di­rec­tion with the theme of Sen­su­ous Sporti­ness, in an aim to be­come a trend­set­ter in­stead of a trend fol­lower in the global auto de­sign sec­tor.

“The na­ture of de­sign is to cre­ate value for cus­tomers. A good de­sign is based on suf­fi­cient un­der­stand­ing of cus­tomers’ need,” said SangYup Lee, Vice Pres­i­dent and Head of Hyundai Styling.

With more ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies such as au­ton­o­mous driv­ing and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence grad­u­ally en­ter­ing peo­ple’s daily lives, what con­sumers want is also chang­ing, as they call for up­dated auto de­signs, Lee said dur­ing a speech de­liv­ered at Hyundai Mo­torstu­dio in Bei­jing over the week­end.

“Auto de­sign should evolve with tech­nolo­gies,” Lee said, not­ing that new de­signs should put more em­pha­sis on emo­tional touch, a key el­e­ment in Hyundai’s new de­sign lan­guage – Sen­su­ous Sporti­ness.

As de­sign be­came more and more im­por­tant, the pre­vi­ous de­sign lan­guage that fo­cused on styling ex­panded into other el­e­ments in­clud­ing pro­por­tion, ar­chi­tec­ture and tech­nol­ogy.

Dur­ing this year’s Geneva Auto Show held in March, Hyundai show­cased its con­cept car called the Le Fil Rouge, through which the au­tomaker’s past, present and fu­ture de­signs are ideally con­nected, in an aim to res­onate with con­sumers on the emo­tional and per­sonal level.

“The soft de­sign style of the car [Le Fil Rouge] can touch in­ner feel­ings and fur­ther in­flu­ence public un­der­stand­ing of de­sign,” Lee said.

He also ex­plained that Hyundai’s de­sign con­cept for its whole auto series aims to re­flect a game of chess, whereby dif­fer­ent mod­els’ unique looks and fea­tures are likened to chess kings, queens or knights, while rep­re­sent­ing a har­mo­nious team.

“The new de­sign con­cept is to­tally dif­fer­ent from the ‘Rus­sian Doll’ style that has a sim­i­lar fam­ily look,” Lee noted.

Be­ing the first pro­duc­tion ve­hi­cle to em­body the new de­sign lan­guage of Sen­su­ous Sporti­ness as shown with the con­cept car, the Lafesta Sedan made its de­but at the 2018 Bei­jing Mo­tor Show held from April 25 to May 4 this year.

The new model, pow­ered by a 1.6-liter tur­bocharged en­gine and be­long­ing to the small car seg­ment in the Chi­nese mar­ket, is tar­geted at the grow­ing younger gen­er­a­tion, who likely pre­fer a car that is much sportier, ac­cord­ing to Hyundai.

“The Chi­nese youth are so con­fi­dent. They live in a coun­try where net­work cov­er­age is the best in the world and they can use WeChat to do al­most every­thing. No place in the world can reach as high an in­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion rate as China,” Lee re­marked.

The com­pany told the Global Times on Tues­day that Lafesta will en­ter the Chi­nese mar­ket in Oc­to­ber this year.

In Lee’s view, the Chi­nese auto mar­ket has a “pur­suit for vis­ual good looks and emo­tional touch.”

“China is not only the biggest auto mar­ket in the world, but is also wit­ness­ing rapid changes in auto cul­ture and trends. The coun­try is to­tally dif­fer­ent from what it was a few years ago and I be­lieve it will be dif­fer­ent again two years from now on.”

Hyundai is now seek­ing co­op­er­a­tion with Chi­nese de­sign teams to ad­vance its fu­ture de­sign ex­em­pli­fied by Sen­su­ous Sporti­ness.

It has cur­rently es­tab­lished three de­sign cen­ters in China based in Bei­jing, Shang­hai and Yan­tai, East China’s Shan­dong Province.

“We’ve de­vel­oped co­op­er­a­tion with China’s Cen­tral Academy of Fine Arts, aimed at jointly cul­ti­vat­ing China’s nextgen­er­a­tion of auto de­sign­ers,” Lee said.

Photo: Cour­tesy of Hyundai

SangYup Lee de­liv­ers a de­sign lec­ture at the Hyundai Mo­torstu­dio Bei­jing on Satur­day.

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