Europe has never been a top priority for Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis. The Asian and North American markets have always been more important for the South Korean automakers, though their business on the Old continent never stops expanding. In fact, it has reached the point where the three brands are considering models developed specifically for Europe.
“We’ve been so successful [in our European operation] that we’ve been given more to develop on our own,” Tyrone Johnson, R&D boss for the three marques in Europe, recently told Autocar. His words suggest Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis will all develop more vehicles in Europe meeting the specific requirements of the local customers. In addition, the R&D teams in Europe could be also responsible for more global models, including products from the Hyundai N division.
Gallery: Genesis G70 Shooting Brake studio photos
While this move may not sound very surprising when it comes to Hyundai and Kia, we are excited to hear Genesis will also work on models for the European market. Just last year, the premium brand launched the G70 Shooting Brake (pictured in the gallery) on the Old continent where it is receiving very positive feedback from customers and media. Dominique Voesch – Genesis European boss – even told Autocar the firm is now considering the model for the South Korean market, too.
As part of Hyundai-Kia’s new strategy, the automaker has plans to double the size of its test site at the Nurburgring. One of the most demanding tracks in the world is used for durability testing and each vehicle is driven around 10,000 miles on the ‘Ring. Hyundai’s main testing facility, however, is located in Dudenhofen (Germany) where the manufacturer owns a former Opel test track.
A model developed in Europe and sold worldwide won’t be a precedent for Hyundai-Kia. Last year, the Kona N, i20 N, and Elantra N were all developed by the R&D teams on the Old continent with the latter basically destined for the US market. The automaker is expected to follow the same recipe with more new products, including vehicles from the Hyundai N sub-brand.