For the Geneva motor show last March, Hyundai showed off an eye-catching four-door coupe concept called the Le Fil Rouge. Hyundai said the concept previewed a new design language that will be used in future products. At the time, though, it wasn’t clear how watered down the styling would get by the time production designs were finalized. But based on a recent interview, it sounds like Hyundai really does intend to take some big design risks over the next few years.
In an interview with Automotive News, SangYup Lee, Hyundai’s head of styling, said we’ll see a Le Fil Rouge-inspired vehicle sometime next year and that the brand plans to move away from its current same-sausage-different-length approach to design. Lee also said to expect future Hyundais to come with some Italian flair.
“That emotional, sensuous beauty, you don’t find that in the volume brands,” he told Automotive News. “For Hyundai to be sexier than Alfa Romeo, this is the mission we want to achieve.”
Lee also said he doesn’t see Hyundai abandoning sedans, even as crossovers get more popular. “The sedan is not going to die,” he said. “That means you’ve got to do more on the sedan than the conventional three-box with a boring look. What are you going to do to make your sedan special? The SUV has to be very distinctive and is very important. But where do you want to take the sedan in the future?”
When it comes to Hyundai’s current reputation for offering good value, it doesn’t sound like Lee sees that changing anytime soon. Instead, he’d like Hyundai to be known for design in addition to value. “The value is a given already. I’d like to see people [say], ‘Hyundai has some sexy cars. Sexier than Alfa Romeo.’ That is the message I’d like to give to the world.”
That’s certainly a tall order for a mainstream car brand, but if Hyundai wants to give it a shot, we say go for it. With the designer of the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 concept in charge, what’s the worst that could happen?