Most of the latest offerings by Hyundai (and Kia) are stunning looking things, and whether you’re prejudiced or not, there’s no getting away from it. People now consider buying a Hyundai for its styling, both inside and out, and also their market-leading warranty packages.
Their ascent has been very surprising, but in a very pleasant way, as we now have fewer and fewer ugly cars per-se, to look at on the world’s roads. And there’s no sign of a let-up in the design-driven philosophy adopted by the Korean manufacturer, as their design boss, Christopher Chapman, seems like a very open minded chap with great ideas.
According to him, each designer at Hyundai US’s design studio in Irvine, California has a stack of index card-sized sketches on the corner of their desks. These sketches are the result of design just for fun, as they are done when the design team is no pressed by any deadline, in order to “keep the flow of ideas going,” as Chapman himself states. These small pieces of paper contain the future Hyundai models for years to come, so they are very highly regarded, with Chapman .
Reportedly, the upcoming 2014 Sonata is almost finished, design wise, and it will not feature any revolutionary new styling cues, but still being an evolution of the current design. Chapman says "I believe the current-gen Sonata is an icon [...] People know that car. What you want to do is get the reaction when the car drives by of, 'Whoa, that's a Sonata--and it's a new one.' Then we've done our job." - a fair point for a manufacturer that wants to consolidate a very good newly-formed image of itself - unlike BMW or Audi who do this but should do the opposite and make interesting cars people don't buy just for the badge.
Chapman, an ex-BMW employee, where he worked for the last 18 years of his life before the move to Hyundai, has been ‘in office’ since January, and with such an openness to fresh thinking and new ideas, coupled with the Korean firm's very ambitious management staff, the future is looking very promissing for them.