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Old 22nd December 2014, 13:36   #1
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Default Hyundai hires BMW M Performance chief engineer

Albert Biermann, chief engineer for BMW's M performance cars and light trucks has just been hired by Hyundai Motor Co. Acting as Executive Vice President, Biermann will be in charge of high-performance vehicle research & development. He will also be leading research efforts on safety, durability, noise oscillation and system development. Simultaneously, he will be playing adviser for product strategy and marketing in the European market

Biermann was with BMW for over 30 years. At Hyundai, he will be the second highest ranking foreign official after design chief Peter Schreyer, who was with Audi AG himself. The move is in line with Hyundai strategy to raise its brand image. The South Korean car maker along with affiliate Kia motors, is known primarily for making affordable passenger cars.

Hyundai & Kia reportedly attribute 60% of their sales to large and mid-size cars in their home market. Over the past few years, luxury car importers such as BMW have been threatening those sales which is why the brand is looking to represent itself in a more premium light.

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Old 22nd December 2014, 15:02   #2
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Default Re: Hyundai hires BMW M Performance chief engineer

This is it.

This is the one move that might propel the company into an all new world of great dynamics and feel. Until now ex-BMW designers provided a refreshing design & build quality to Hyundai which made the competitors break sweat, stand up & take notice. Hiring a M Series specific performance engineer, could mean only one thing - focus on steering, tyres, grip, cornering & dynamics.

Last year the company took the help of Lotus engineers to tune and perfect their new flagship model the Genesis. Lotus while they are specialists, worked only as external consultants. Having an in-house specialist from the only European company known for unbeatable driving machines will hopefully leave no room for the competition in the non-luxury brands segment. Gotta hand it to Hyundai, people of this calibre do not come cheap.

Last edited by dark.knight : 22nd December 2014 at 15:19.
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Old 22nd December 2014, 16:06   #3
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Default Re: Hyundai hires BMW M Performance chief engineer

All Hyundai models in the market have exceptional quality in and out. But they lose out to the competition in the driving dynamics and feel department. I reckon, with this move, in future, we can expect Hyundais with excellent handling, a much better suspension setup and ride quality; or is this wishing for too much?

If this happens then are we looking at the best car in each segment from Hyundai? Can one person have such a great impact on the entire company?

-Bhargav
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Old 22nd December 2014, 16:45   #4
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Default Re: Hyundai hires BMW M Performance chief engineer

Shows commitment indeed. Hiring BMW M's chief engineer also gets the attention of car enthusiasts.

Last year, Hyundai opened a test center at the Nurburgring - link. They're also planning a performance wing - link.

Honestly, the handling & dynamics of new Hyundais are no longer deal breakers. The new i20 is a big leap ahead of the older i20 in terms of road manners. It's balanced & safe where its predecessor was nervous. The Grand i10 is also sufficiently stable at speed, while the latest Santa Fe has a very well-sorted suspension. Neither of these are corner carvers, yet they are no longer the lousy handlers that yesteryear Hyundais were.
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Old 22nd December 2014, 16:51   #5
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Default Re: Hyundai hires BMW M Performance chief engineer

Interesting news indeed. This will definitely help Hyundai to at-last build cars that appease the soul.

They seem to be doing all the right things lately and I will not be surprised if they end up eating more into their competitors market share in the coming years.

- Shiva
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Old 22nd December 2014, 18:39   #6
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Default Re: Hyundai hires BMW M Performance chief engineer

In the past few years, Hyundai is getting better and better on quality. The change in design language is much evident after the arrival of Peter Schreyer (ex. Audi), and now rightly aiming at the performance aspect.
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Old 23rd December 2014, 12:31   #7
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Default Re: Hyundai hires BMW M Performance chief engineer

Not very subtle or stealthy is it?

First they named the new brand 'N' and now they got the chief engineer from M Performance division.

Jokes aside, this is a major coup. Mr. Albert Biermann been with BMW since 1983, and has been VP of M since 2008. So, thats experience and knowledge by the truckload. And moreover when leaders move, they bring their entourage also along with. A big statement of intent by Hyundai. Will be very interesting to watch out. Awesome news!
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Old 23rd December 2014, 14:14   #8
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Default Re: Hyundai hires BMW M Performance chief engineer

I have met Albert once in Maisach, Munich. Gem of a person and a very very talented guy. He hand picks his Engineers, so as deetjohn mentioned above, some of his punters will migrate as well. As the majority of them are Germans, how many of them migrate remains a question mark.

Prost
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Old 23rd December 2014, 15:52   #9
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Default Re: Hyundai hires BMW M Performance chief engineer

Quote:
Originally Posted by skotha View Post
They seem to be doing all the right things lately
Quote:
Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
Hyundai is getting better and better on quality
True.

Brand: Hyundai was unknown in the 80s. Today, everyone knows Hyundai. They were a bargain basement nameplate earlier...today, people pay a premium for their product.

Reliability: Started off with poor quality & reliability. Realised that the strategy isn't sustainable. Today, their cars are as reliable as the Japanese.

Design: From ugly ducklings to cars like the new i20 & Elantra.

Compared to what they've achieved in the above 3 areas, improving the handling is like a walk in the park! The easiest of the lot...
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Old 23rd December 2014, 16:08   #10
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Default Re: Hyundai hires BMW M Performance chief engineer

A very good move by Hyundai but do not expect them to be at par with the BMW's in the near future. The BMW M cars have been honed and perfected over period of decades which apart from obvious's like handling and g's in corners, have also got the seat of the pants feel and the sheer pleasure of driving built in. For me M cars are in class of their own.
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Old 23rd December 2014, 17:25   #11
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Default Re: Hyundai hires BMW M Performance chief engineer

Quote:
Originally Posted by extreme_torque View Post
A very good move by Hyundai but do not expect them to be at par with the BMW's in the near future. The BMW M cars have been honed and perfected over period of decades which apart from obvious's like handling and g's in corners, have also got the seat of the pants feel and the sheer pleasure of driving built in. For me M cars are in class of their own.
I don't think anyone will ever expect BMW-grade driving involvement from regular Hyundai cars. Even if they can match their contemporary 'fun to drive' brands (say Ford or Fiat), they'll have a win-win situation on their hands.

Like GTO says, they've already made significant progress on other parameters. Performance is probably their only weak point right now. Imagine a fully loaded Elite i-20 that handles like a Figo/Punto or a Hyundai compact sedan that handles like the Fiesta/Linea.

Last edited by Chetan_Rao : 23rd December 2014 at 17:26.
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Old 23rd December 2014, 17:57   #12
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Default Re: Hyundai hires BMW M Performance chief engineer

Quote:
Originally Posted by extreme_torque View Post
A very good move by Hyundai but do not expect them to be at par with the BMW's in the near future.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chetan_Rao View Post
I don't think anyone will ever expect BMW
Actually, even BMW doesn't drive like BMW anymore . The latest generations have electric steerings that are direct, but nowhere as pure as the hydraulic units of the E60. Drive the F10 5-Series & F30 3-Series and you'll see a softer approach = better ride quality, but the comfort-oriented suspension also brings more body roll than their predecessors.

Personally, I find the comfy F10 way more liveable than the edgy E60. The grip levels are still good, yet there is no doubt on which is the better handler.
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Old 23rd December 2014, 18:59   #13
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Default Re: Hyundai hires BMW M Performance chief engineer

What is it with Korean car makers and German engineers? (Remember Ulrich Bez and Daewoo?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPIKE ARRESTOR View Post
As the majority of them are Germans, how many of them migrate remains a question mark.
Development centre can be in Europe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
improving the handling is like a walk in the park!
Just ride or just handling - yes. The balance/ compromise between these:- part engineering, part black magic!
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Old 23rd December 2014, 19:17   #14
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Default Re: Hyundai hires BMW M Performance chief engineer

A very admirable company right now and probably a very relevant auto maker for the future. The transition they have made and continuing to make makes Hyundai stand out amongst other auto companies clearly.
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Old 23rd December 2014, 22:16   #15
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Default Re: Hyundai hires BMW M Performance chief engineer

Finally, that steering would get a life. A very good move by Hyundai, and their hunger to improve is really bringing in the attention of the people.
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