Opinion

‘Hyundai and Kia plan to up their game even further’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks Euisun Chung’s leadership is steering Hyundai, Kia and Genesis into an even brighter future

Opinion - Kia Soul EV

In over 25 years of writing about cars, I’ve enjoyed watching the rise of Korean sister brands Hyundai and Kia more than most. And having just spent a week in Korea on World Car Awards duties, I’ve seen how these already-major players plan to up their game even further.

Part of the week has been spent driving brilliant new cars like the new Kia Soul EV. But I’ve also been talking to the management team about changes in the company resulting from Euisun Chung’s ascension to top spot in place of his father, M.K. Chung.

New Kia Soul EV review

There are little things that have already changed, such as a more relaxed dress code. But Euisun Chung has brought about a new focus to a business that had already developed into one of the world’s automotive powerhouses.

M. K. Chung’s leadership, described as visionary by the group’s design chief Luc Donckerwolke, brought in the likes of Donckerwolke from Bentley, his predecessor Peter Schreyer from Audi and engineering guru Albert Biermann from BMW. But he also had the foresight to make sure the Hyundai group makes its own steel and even manufactures its own headlights and screens.

Now Donckerwolke and his teams are being encouraged to make their brands stand out in a way they haven’t before, and with a clear distinction between them. “Genesis is haute couture, Hyundai is prêt-à-porter and Kia is cool street wear,” Donckerwolke told me. Got it.

Light signatures are a big part in that story (and that’s a lot easier when you own the supplier). “We’ve done dots, lines and shapes,” he said. “Now we want to do volume.”

Without giving too much away, some of the designs you’ll see soon across all three brands are out of this world and will really stand out in a crowded market. And it’s all backed up by innovative engineering, too.

Watching Hyundai, Kia and Genesis change in the next few years will be fascinating. Their new-found freedom and confidence is great for buyers – and worrying for rivals.

Do you agree with Steve? Do you think the future looks even brighter for Hyundai and Kia? Let us know your thoughts below...

Recommended

New Hyundai Ioniq 6 targeting Tesla Model 3 with 311-mile range
Hyundai Ioniq 6 - watermarked
Hyundai

New Hyundai Ioniq 6 targeting Tesla Model 3 with 311-mile range

The new Hyundai Ioniq 6 saloon will join the Ioniq 5 in the brand’s all-electric line-up and our exclusive image previews how it could look
21 Oct 2021
Hyundai Vision FK hydrogen-powered sports car concept packs 670bhp
Hyundai Vision FK concept car
Hyundai

Hyundai Vision FK hydrogen-powered sports car concept packs 670bhp

New hydrogen-hybrid prototype is part of Hyundai’s Hydrogen Wave future strategy to bring fuel cell tech to the masses in every area of mobility
7 Sep 2021
Hyundai Hydrogen Wave strategy to yield two new hydrogen fuel cell powertrains in 2023
Hyundai hydrogen powertrains
Hyundai

Hyundai Hydrogen Wave strategy to yield two new hydrogen fuel cell powertrains in 2023

Hyundai’s Hydrogen wave plans underpin next-generation hydrogen-powered vehicles from the brand; Vision FK hydrogen sports car concept shows the hydro…
7 Sep 2021
Tiny new Hyundai Casper downsizes the SUV
Hyundai Casper - front
Hyundai

Tiny new Hyundai Casper downsizes the SUV

The Casper is Hyundai’s smallest ever SUV, according to the brand’s friendly boast
1 Sep 2021

Most Popular

Cupra Born vs Mercedes EQA vs Volvo C40 Recharge: 2021 group test review
Cupra Born vs Mercedes EQA vs Volvo C40 Recharge
Car group tests

Cupra Born vs Mercedes EQA vs Volvo C40 Recharge: 2021 group test review

The all-electric Volvo C40 Recharge meets another premium wannabe in the Cupra Born. But can they beat the super-posh new Mercedes EQA?
19 Oct 2021
New Ford Mustang Mach-E GT 2021 review
Ford Mustang Mach-E GT - front
Ford Mustang Mach-E

New Ford Mustang Mach-E GT 2021 review

With 480bhp and a 310-mile range, does the new Ford Mustang Mach-E GT offers the perfect blend of performance and practicality? We find out...
19 Oct 2021
Friends reunited: buying back a Porsche 911
Porsche 911
Porsche 911 Coupe

Friends reunited: buying back a Porsche 911

How perfect timing led a Porsche 911 fanatic to buy back his old car
14 Oct 2021