Imbuing Korean-ness: Genesis Executives on Creating Identity
Genesis launched the G70 as its entry-level compact luxury sport sedan, which will be the brand’s volume model once it goes on sale in the U.S. in the spring of 2018. At the car’s global launch in Korea, Motor Trend spoke with the G70’s designers and Genesis’ U.S. boss on how the brand will distinguish itself and create vehicles with their own distinct personality.
Infusing Korean Culture
Perhaps the most difficult part of Genesis’ brand DNA is its Korean identity. With the global launch of the G70 taking place in its home market, Genesis is proud of its Korean roots. Its methodology of designing vehicles is influenced by its country of origin. Unlike its competitors from Japan, which started outside of their home country, Genesis aims to be a “holistic global brand,” says U.S. boss Erwin Raphael. He also says it will differentiate itself from its Asian counterparts in that sense. In the U.S., the brand’s Korean-ness won’t be highlighted as much. Raphael believes there isn’t much meaning to it because Americans don’t know much about Korean culture; however, he believes that over time that will change as brands such as Genesis continue to push into the mainstream in the same way LG and Samsung have done.
Raphael says that Genesis’ Korean DNA is the most powerful part of its identity but the hardest to explain. Korean culture is the intersection of old and new traditions where rigid structure such as the family hierarchy coexists with the younger generation searching for innovation and new ways to get things done. Genesis takes inspiration from the coexistence of old and new in Korea to create a vehicle that has a sense of cohesion. Raphael uses the G70’s interior as an example where nothing looks out of place and everything comes together as one.
On Creating Cars with Personality and Identity
Each vehicle in Genesis’ lineup will have a unique personality that will be based on its intended mission. In the case of the G70, it won’t have any wood trim offered and will stick solely to metal inlays. Why? Genesis Vice President of Styling Lee Sangyup says it’s simply because it’s more youth-oriented than the larger G80 and G90. The G70 is the athlete of the family, and the use of metal trim conveys sportiness and the sense that it’s high-tech, Lee says.
The G70’s interior speaks to its identity with its driver-oriented design, which envelops the driver yet gives passengers a sense of spaciousness. Lee also notes that the interior has a dual personality, which he describes as it allowing the driver to feel like he or she is “owning the road” without making passengers feel confined. The dash layout hints at the G70’s driver-centric nature with its simplicity and user-friendliness. “Sometimes you sit in a car, and you are overwhelmed by the technology and big screens,” Lee says. “That’s not our point.” He also says that technology should be there to help the driver and passengers—it shouldn’t be distracting. “Nothing really pops or bothers your eyes,” he says regarding the G70’s interior.
Bolder and Audacious Crossovers, Elegant and Classic Sedans
At the 2017 New York auto show, Genesis revealed a crossover concept called the GV80. It featured an exterior with unconventional styling cues such as its quad headlights. That was done on purpose, says Genesis Senior Vice President of Design Luc Donckerwolke. At the launch of the Genesis G70, Donckerwolke revealed to Motor Trend that the brand’s design will get louder and more audacious in the future.
As it moves toward production, the GV80 Concept won’t change much—it was essentially a thinly disguised production vehicle. Expect the production version of the GV80 to lead to the debut of the next iteration of Genesis’ design language, a more expressive one that will be most prominent in the brand’s upcoming crossovers. As for the sedans, Donckerwolke says that they will remain more elegant and classy, pointing out that they’re more logical (read: more conventional). Respecting a sedan’s classicism while making them more emotional will be important for the successors of the G80 and G90, meaning harmonizing restraint and boldness will have a key role in their development. Donckerwolke believes there’s more freedom in designing crossovers, hence the reason to steer them toward a more daring direction. Sedans, on the other hand, need to keep a sense of familiarity yet be progressive at the same time.
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September 29, 2017 at 04:07AM
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