Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hyundai Genesis - did we really need a rear-drive Camry?


For all the work Hyundai and Kia have done to make their cars competitive with the best in the industry - there is one place where they still are years behind...styling.

They understand fit and finish, build quality, perceived quality, and a myriad of things that customers want.

They just don't yet 'get' what styling should be about for any manufacturer.

Witness just about any car they've done to date (the current Sonata is a mild exception)...they either ape a competitor's product or look like some alien contraption.

Another lesson about styling they have yet to learn - find a corporate look and stick with it. Buyers need to be able to say 'that is a Hyundai' or 'that is a Kia' without having to look for the badge.

The latest example of this lack of understanding of auto styling are these renderings of the Hyundai Genesis concept that will debut in April at the New York Auto Show. The front has elements of the current Toyota Camry/Avalon. The rear seems Infiniti/Lincoln MKZ-esque.

The Japanese went through this phase as well, so it is reasonable to expect that the Koreans will get there eventually. It just makes me sad to see yet another missed opportunity.

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