Can They Take It To The Next Level?

The Hyundai Santa fe con. Inset is a Kia product

•The Hyundai Santa fe con. Inset is a Kia product

•The Hyundai Santa fe con. Inset is a Kia product

In looking for the next great car companies and assessing what it will take for those  automakers to succeed going forward, P.M.Motoring is suggesting that in Hyundai/KIA’s case,  “…as long as they don’t get caught up in their own press clippings, which they’re already  displaying signs of doing…” they might have a real shot.

There’s no question that Hyundai – which is the lead dog in the Hyundai/KIA group – is  displaying definitive signs of becoming The Next Automotive Juggernaut. Hyundai has finally  shaken off the dejection brought on by its previous love with the everyday school of  automotive design. Just recently, in fact, Hyundai grabbed a designer away from GM by the  name of Phil Zak – the man who designed the highly-regarded Chevy Equinox – to run its  California-based studio in hopes that he can continue the product momentum and newly found  design perspective that Hyundai calls “Fluidic Design,” which is aimed at elevating and  giving true substance to the Hyundai brand around the world.

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But as you might expect, it’s not that easy. Success in this business is never a finger-snap  away; rather, it’s a day-in, day-out slog that’s filled with setbacks and small gains –  sometime in the same week, if not the same day – and it requires a relentless will and a  focused consistency to make progress, let alone excel.

Hyundai has to put a stake in the ground and let the world know what it stands for. Are they  going to out-BMW? Is that how far they’re going to take their new-found love with vehicle  dynamics? Are they going to try to out-Audi with a seductive combination of engineering and  breathtaking design? Will they go the safety with luxury route? How about the environmental  leader persona? Or will they just throw up their hands and just continue to hammer home  their warranty and push the whole durability/reliability/quality premise for a lack of a  better idea?

Make no mistake, Hyundai is at a crossroads. It’s not enough that they have the capability  to do almost anything they want to do, now it becomes a question of who they are, what they  want to be, and what they’re going to stand for from this point on. Basically, the future of  the whole damn company is at stake. Hyundai is either on the verge of greatness, or it’s on  the verge of going somewhere down the road to Not Good.

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