Here’s some pretty huge news coming out of South Korea:
Hyundai has wooed a longtime BMW engineer to head up a new performance division.
This isn’t just any BMW engineer, either. It’s not like Hyundai was content hiring away some guy who stepped on board with BMW last year and is making his way up the career ladder by heading over to Hyundai. Nope. This is Albert Biermann, former vice president of engineering at BMW’s M Division. Biermann has been at BMW since 1983. This is the guy who helped bring us every generation of M car including the latest M3, M4, M5 and M6.
And in April, he’ll work at Hyundai.
Did I mention this was huge?
In his new role at Hyundai, the 57-year-old German will be spearheading the development of a new line of high-performance cars as well as providing input to help improve the dynamic capabilities of models across the Hyundai and Kia line-ups.
He will also manage engineering projects relating to ride and handling, safety, reliability and road noise of future South Korean performance cars.
You know what this means? Other carmakers should be quivering in their britches. Toyota should be most afraid, as its new sporty attitude could be far overshadowed by a slew of German-engineered Hyundais.
Who’s going to care about a redesign of the Scion FR-S when there’s a Hyundai version of a BMW M3 about to hit showrooms?
Yes, this is huge.
If Hyundai enticing BMW employees sounds familiar, allow me to refresh your memory with a quote from exactly two years ago in Car and Driver:
Of all the good plays that Kia has made in recent years, the best one may have been poaching German designer Peter Schreyer from Volkswagen in 2006, and charging him with making the company’s then-forgettable product line more distinct and more attractive. It worked so well that now Hyundai has gone and picked up a German-luxury-car designer of its very own: BMW’s Christopher Chapman. Chapman is leaving his post as Automotive and Transportation Design Director at BMW Designworks USA in Newbury Park, California, to serve as the chief designer at the Hyundai Design Center in Irvine, California.
Hyundai cars of the near future will have a lot of German blood flowing through their veins.
This is huge.
Will you think differently about Hyundai knowing its cars are designed and engineered by former BMW employees?