In what could be a first, Korean carmaker Hyundai says it is in the process of “Indianising” its cars on the outside as well as on the inside. Hyundai says it will do this by borrowing elements from India’s architecture, art and craft. Not something even Indian carmakers like Tata and Mahindra have done yet, the move is also likely to dovetail nicely with Hyundai’s new design language, one that allows for the use of multiple stylesheets.
‘Indianising’ Hyundai cars
It’s probably a sign of just how important the Indian car market is to Hyundai, and a sign of respect that it has for our heritage and history. Minchul Koo, vice president of Design at Hyundai Motor Company, explains it best. “Indians are very proud of their heritage and culture, and we designers are fascinated and very impressed with the level of creativity and variety.”
So Hyundai’s designers are in the process of looking for inspiration. “Indian architecture and art are very delicate, fine and derived from the beauty of nature. In contrast, the European form is more functional; and this is what we designers want to highlight.”
What form these elements will finally take on the car is anybody’s guess. What’s interesting is that Hyundai had already experimented with something similar earlier. Well, sort of. The design of the Eon’s centre console was said to have been inspired by Ganesh or an elephant.
This also won’t be the first time that designers have incorporated elements from a particular country. Lexus, for example, is famous for using all manner of Japanese motifs in its cars. The shape of a Katana sword, Japanese silk and Origami-like interior details. And Skoda’s Enyaq, another example, has headlights that celebrate the Czech Republic's crystal heritage.
Koo and his colleagues are currently in the process of designing an electric SUV for India. The SUV is likely to be rugged, functional and large. “We can do many things with our revolutionary platform,” says Koo.
Tailoring a design specifically for a geographic region is something that Hyundai’s current design philosophy, or relative lack of one, allows. One style doesn’t fit all, says Hyundai, and the company wants to provide tailor-made solutions for customers with varied tastes. The carmaker says it won’t follow a Russian doll philosophy, “where each car looks almost identical from the one next to it, the only difference being size.”
“You will be able to identify each car as a Hyundai, but the cars and SUVs won’t be clones of each other either,” Koo elaborates. “As you know, every chess piece is different, right? The bishop, the knight and the king each have a different shape, but you can still identify which set they come from. And that’s how Hyundai’s style sheet works and allows for enough individuality.”
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