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How Hyundai and Kia made design a strength

Last weekend, I tasted the Kia EV6 in Irvine, California for the first time. It was a beautiful 77 degree day spent in a gentle hill under a clear blue sky. Even the people I met were great. They were tanned and charming “California” people, cheerful and charming. No matter what California sent to distract me, my eyes kept returning to EV6.

You can’t escape it. Especially the Kia EV6 with a matte metallic gray finish is a very nice looking car.

Not too far away, another Korean car caught my eye. This was also the first Hyundai Ioniq 5 I experienced in production.A few yards away, the Ioniq 5 looks around the world like a retrofuturist hot hatch, crouching low and ready for what old rally cars want. Bounce Off the line and barrel towards the next curve. The next time the door opens and someone gets out of the car, the brain needs to readjust.

It’s not a hot hatch. The Ioniq 5 is a medium-sized 5-seater crossover with 21-inch wheels and high-end LED lighting. It was all a light trick.

“How—” I start asking, really surprised at how small Ioniq looks compared to its actual size. “How did you do this?”

“We hired the best people in the world,” James Bell said in a simple and straightforward response.

James Bell, Head of Corporate Communications at Kia, spent time with me at the Electrify Expo e-mobility Festival in Irvine last Saturday about how Kia has progressed over the last 20 years. It bothered my head. It’s let me tell you if you weren’t in the 90’s: Kia has come a long way.

“The company has decided to hire the best talent it can find,” said James (I’m paraphrasing it a bit here). “Not just good people number one People-even if it had to look out of South Korea to find them. “

A team formed by Hyundai and Kia to develop a new Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP) Traveling Read like a Wilburys car take.

Bell was first hired by BMW as a chassis and suspension engineer in 1983, and from Albert Biermann who worked on all the classic BMWs needed, from 2008 to the role of Vice President of Engineering for BMW M Automobiles and BMW Individuals. to start. .. Hyundai hired him from BMW in 2015. In particular, to ensure that the new Hyundai and Kia models built on the E-GMP platform are superior to anything else in terms of dynamics.

Then he mentions Luc Donckerwolke, Its portfolio is a superstar car designer that includes both the Audi R8 Le Mans Racer, Lamborghini Murcielago and Gallardo, and the 2013 Bentley Flying Spur and EXP10 Speed ​​6 Concepts to conquer everything. In short, this guy can draw a car and has proved it many times since joining Hyundai with the 2018 Palisade, 2020 Sonata, 2021 Elantra, and G / GV80 Genesis models. .. He oversees the look and feel of the car.

Finally, go to Karim Habib, another BMW alum that wrote the pen. Both BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe (((Fainted!! ) And EV6 in front of me.

“I love this car,” I tell James. “”I wrote an article about it, actually. He said it was like Lancia Stratos. “

“It looks good,” he says. “There may be lotus too.”

For example, about some of the other players in the EV space who “difficult” in translating traditional styling cues into the design language of modern crossover electric vehicles, and more of those styling cues. I talked a bit about whether I’m doing. It hurt or help those brands as they move to EVs.

“Kia is a young brand that may have less legacy, so do you think you have more freedom to choose a really bold design?”

“Yes,” says James thoughtfully. “Yes, I think so. Kia’s design language is really positive. When I was at GM, there were a lot of” competing interests “, let us say? “

We have a Fiero / Corvette conspiracy theory and “You can’t have a coupe. Buick got a coupe!” Mentality.

“In Kia, none of them,” he says.

From EV6, it’s clear that Karim Habib is taking full advantage of the opportunity to lead an agnostic design department.

“The EV6 is the first dedicated Kia EV, a showcase of human-centered progressive design and electrified power,” Habib said in Kia’s official statement on the new “Opposites United” design philosophy. “Philosophy is based on five main design pillars.” Statement continues.. “Bold for Nature, Joy for Reason, Power to Progress, Technology for Life, Tension for Serenity.”

So this is a pretty dense PR and I really want to make a problem … but I can’t. The EV6 looks really bold, and I want to put some aggressively humped tires on it and take it out naturally. It’s fun to see a sports car look fun and thrilling, but it’s a four-door crossover that I can make a logical claim to.As for power-well, Kia made its debut 576 horsepower EV6 GT Participate in the runway drag race alongside Lamborghini, AMG, McLaren, Ferrari and Porsche.

Kia didn’t win the race (McLaren won), But it wasn’t the last. Not in the long run-and it tells a lot about what Kia seems to have understood about the automotive business: Man Make a car. And it makes sense that if you hire the best people to make your car, you’ll probably make the best car. Or at least some very good ones.

With handling by the man who made the BMW M BMW MA man who is a positive design language, bringing Lamborghini and Bentley to the present day and keeping an eye on things, it’s hard to imagine that Hyundai and Kia are doing anything else.

James was a very good sport and spent a lot of time with me on cars and Kia. Electrification Expo.. I wanted to give back, so I asked if there were any points or messages I would like to add to the article about Kia. After a short pause, he attacked me as follows: “We believe that the launch of the EV6 has long been remembered as a crucial moment in the history of Kia here in the United States. It’s our saying because we’ll never forget the first time we saw it on the road. It will be a “vehicle of change”. Therefore, it is a perfect representation of Kia’s new Opposites United design theme. “

“I love you!” I said with a laugh.

“Hopefully you can Love Carbiz! He added.

I understand what that means. I love too.

[Images: Kia, Hyundai]

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How Hyundai and Kia made design a strength

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