Hyundai seeks new design direction to become design trendsetter

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/9/13 18:38:41

SangYup Lee delivers a design lecture at the Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing on Saturday. Photo: Courtesy of Hyundai

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 next-generation of auto designers," Lee said.

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