Category Archives: M136ID

Automotive Industry in Context

Veloster design review

The Veloster is a new line of Hyundai’s Premium Youth lab designed vehicle targeted at young buyers, obviously. The Veloster in my opinions, is also one of their new design era vehicles, introduced after their change in design direction and brand identity.

As mentioned before, the Veloster has the new Hyundai “wings” at the front of the vehicle, the continuity feature that is now present in most of their vehicles. However, it seems that they have recently given it a minor facelift and removed this feature on the Veloster, which I want back!



The side profile of the Veloster is well designed, equal front and rear over hang, with many lines and features flowing through the vehicle. I like that fact that, the rear of the vehicle dips in quite dramatically, an unconventional look amongst hatchbacks. What is also unconventional about this vehicle is the fact that it has asymmetrical door configuration; one large door on the driver’s side and two on the passengers’ side. It doesn’t really disturb the line flow of the vehicle, but I cannot really comment on the practicality of it as I don’t own this vehicle myself. Although, I wonder how much alteration they have to make during the production of the vehicle when they have to make left and right hand drive versions of the car.


Disregarding colour of the vehicles below, I think the stance of the Veloster looks similar to that of a luxury compact SUV, i.e. Land Rover Evoque or the Lamborghini Urus concept. I think it works with the design of the vehicle, but I’d imagine future facelift to the vehicle would have a more sports car design, possible a coupe version.

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RCZ design review

It’s good to see Peugeot releasing something other than a hatchback. This popular sports compact from Peugeot has sold more than 30,000 units, thanks to its unique look.

Many people say that it looks like an Audi TT, but I think it looks better than an Audi TT. The line flow of the vehicle is more interesting, there are features and character lines which aren’t present in a TT.

The front has the standard Peugeot badge sink and pointy headlights, standards through out Peugeot design, giving a distinctive character to the look of the vehicle.


What is unusual about the design of the vehicle is that (similarly on the TT) it has a smooth curvature flow from the A to C pillar. I think the side profile of the vehicle is not particularly attractive, as there is too much of a symmetry and cause the visual weight of the vehicle to be too centralized  This means that most of the curves’ peak are in the middle and it doesn’t give a sense of motion and direction to the car. If we look at a silhouette outline of the vehicle, you might struggle with determining which way round is the front and which is the back.



Personally, I would bring the vanishing point of the vehicle back and thus bringing the visual weight of the vehicle back, making the lines look more dynamic and give a better sense of flow and motion.



Electric vehicles

Beside Hybrid vehicles, electric cars are being heavily invested on by car manufacturers. They seem to be the direction many car manufacturers are developing as their answer to environmental issues such as carbon emission and replacement for internal combustion engines.

Peugeot currently has the iOn available for purchase in the UK. The iOn is a re-badged of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV sold in the European market. The iOn is also avaliable as the Citroën C-Zero.

The iOn city car is completely electric and it doesn’t give off any polluting or CO2 emissions at all; however, this only means no CO2 emission local to the vehicle, the CO2 emission has been moved to the power station supplying the electricity to the vehicle.

According to Peugeot, the iOn has  a battery life of up to 93 miles and a maximum speed of 81mph. With its short battery life, it really is only designed for city travelling. However, there seems to be a lack of charging stations for this vehicle in the UK and sales was slow and is now only available for hire.


Unlike Peugeot, Hyundai has developed their own electric vehicle, the BlueOn (despite the name similarity, they have no association).  The vehicle’s chassis is based on the i10, and it has a similar single charge distance and maximum speed to the iOn. The BlueOn is only available in Korea at the moment, but due to the lack of interest in the UK, I don’t think we will be seeing the current incarnation of BlueOn being sold in the UK.



Market performance

The two companies are in opposite situations at the moment; Hyundai is an up and coming with a lot of promises in their future, whereas Peugeot are financially struggling.

Hyundai enjoyed a second place in profit margin at 11.4%, a mere 0.2% less than BMW, with Kia coming third at 9.6%. Hyundai’s business is booming thanks to the anti-Japan protests in China, where we saw a sudden decrease in interest of Japanese vehicles in China due to the China-Japan island dispute, and the increase in sales of i10 in Europe.

Meanwhile, Peugeot has been struggling with business in 2012. They have had a decrease in sales for five consecutive years and are not expecting sales in Europe to pick up any time soon. The French government, who initially did not have any shares in Peugeot, have invested $807 million in an attempt to protect the company and job loses.

Peugeot’s main strength at the moment is their well established and iconic design of their hatchback vehicles, and the French Government has also got the company’s back. Their main weakness right now is their lack of reputation and media attention outside of Europe. According to their sales figure, more than 60% of their car sales in 2012 are  from Europe, in a market where they are struggling with.


Their main objects right now is to focus on breaking into the Chinese market and developing their sedan cars, which is the main interests amongst Chinese customers. They are too focused on developing hatchbacks, which is only popular in Europe. The 508 is the only sedan they manufacturer, which again, is primarily sold in Europe, but it doesn’t have any clear advantages over its competitors. Practicality wise it’s not as good as the likes of Ford Mondeo, design wise it’s not as stylish as Audi A4, and reputation wise it’s not as flashy as BMW 3 series. Yes, their new Peugeot Onyx concept is super hot, and was one of the highlights at the Paris Motor Show, but will there be people looking for a hybrid super car?

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Hyundai is currently in a good position; they are attracting a lot of attention and have a good sense of direction with their transition into a luxury brand. Their main weakness at the moment is their competitor’s strength. BMW, Mercedes and Audi have all got a well established reputation, a long history of quality cars and are offering a wide range of options to choose from. If Hyundai wants to compete in this segment, their only option is to excel in what they have to offer. People who are considering buying a BMW will not be stingy with their money and go for a cheaper alternative. They need to provide something to make consumers think twice before buying. They need to be able to offer better services, maintenance, in-car features and superior design quality to win the heart of people who are after a luxury experience.



Peugeot design language and history

As a car manufacturer that has been in existence even before automobiles were invented, Peugeot has a long design history.

Looking back all the way to Peugeot’s first vehicle, the Serpollet Tricycle; it was simply a horse carriage redesigned to fit a steam powered engine. This was because horse carriages was the main method of transport back in late 19th century. It was not an established market for people to invest their time into designing what this sort of vehicle should look like.


In my opinions, it was until 1938 with the 202 that Peugeot got rid of the “horseless carriage” design element in their vehicles. It marked the early 20th century style of Peugeot car design.


This style continued up until 1955, when Peugeot got hold of Pininfarina, the masters of automotive styling, to design their new 403 range. They introduced the three-box styling to the 403, which is commonly refer to as a sedan or coupe in modern terms.


Pininfarina continued to help peugeot define the styling of their vehicles and helped the Peugeot 404 convertible become one of Peugeot’s classic and landmark vehicles.


With the Peugeot Lion logo redesigned in 1980, we also saw changes in the styling of Peugeot vehicles. The first design continuity was introduced with the badge sink positioned in the center of the grill, which can subsequently be seen on vehicles such as the 309 and 106. Peugeot also only used square head lights with their 80s-90s vehicles and this design was kept up until the retirement of the 205.


The 206 had a radical change in design; it was a big facelift from the 205 and I think its styling was one that is ahead of its time. Dynamic flow of the vehicle, head lights which flow along with the line work of the car, and it kept design continuity with the badge sink.


The sharp flow of the headlights became part of Peugeot’s design identity and along with the badge sink, it has been carried forward to future Peugeot vehicles.

2009-peugeot-107-front-angle-588x422  Peugeot-307_2005_800x600_wallpaper_03

With the 208 fresh out of the oven, we can quickly analysis the design they have incorporated into the styling of the vehicle.

Traditional 3 wheels wheelbase distance, with slightly more over hang. 208 has a higher vanishing point to the 308, which is understandable as the 308 is the higher model, and require that streamline and dynamic edge to be worthy of the higher price tag. The slight forward leaning stance and the low belt line is common with the two design, but we can see an overlapping B-point and vanishing point on the 208, which is common style used for superminis.

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Hyundai Design language and history

When Hyundai first started manufacturing their own vehicles in 1975, they wanted to make sure that the design would appear to customers. They managed to get hold of Italdesign Giugiaro S.p.A to design their first vehicle, the Pony, and subsequently, the first generation Stellar, Excel and Sonata were also designed by Italdesign Giugiaro.

They were good design at the time but I felt that Italdesign Giugiaro was behind with their design philosophy in the 70s and 80s. Many car manufacturers were transitioning out of the box shape, sharp edges design during this period, but Italdesign Giugiaro were still applying it in their design. It wasn’t until late 80s, where the line flow of their cars were starting to become smoother and more dynamic.


When the company underwent major reconstruction, splitting off from the rest of Hyundai companies, and the acquiring of Kia, we saw a confusing sense of design and styling in the company’s products. The company wanted to produce better quality cars, but the design of their cars lacked character and definition. With the release of Hyundai Tiburon, we saw a car with good continuity line flow, being “facelifted” into a 6 eyes monster, which makes removes the “expression” of the face.


Then there was the inconsistency in design. The 1993 Sonata had a facebook to its 5th generation, were we saw a front face upgrade with round edged lights, yet only 1 year later, the Elantra facelift recieved squared shaped head lights.

1999_hyundai_sonata_4_dr_gls_sedan-pic-49428 01-03_Hyundai_Elantra_GLS_sedan

I’d say it wasn’t until mid 2000s when Hyundai’s design really caught up with their competitors in exterior styling. With the introduction of Namyang Design Centre in Korea, American Design Centre in California and Europe Design Centre in Germany, Hyundai has turned their exterior design to a new direction.

The introduction of continuity in the design was a long awaited feature that is present in many car manufacturers. The embedded logo with lines fading out towards the light can be seen with all of the i-range products.


The Veloster is a design revolution for Hyundai as it is a sports car which Hyundai has never done before. Personally, I think the Veloster is beautifully styled, it also introduces the design continuity seen with i-range products.


Within the American market, the luxury Genesis and Equus are also well designed. The design language of the two cars are very similar, and there is also continuity of features with the two cars as seen below.

2011-hyundai-equus-4-door-sedan-signature-side-exterior-view_100362100_l hyundai-genesis-6-big There is more of a distance from the green house to the vanishing point on the Equus (top) which is a common method for car designers when they are designing higher grade models to give the car a more stream line, dynamic and luxurious. More rear overhang gives the car a backwards leaning stance and provides a better sense of speed and motion.

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With their luxury sedan having a front redesign, and a different logo, I can see Hyundai spawning a seperate luxury brand identity, similar to that of Lexus to Toyota or Infiniti to Nissan. We will have to wait and see if this prediction is true or not.


Environmentally trendy

There is a growing concern with the environment, everybody is recycling plastics bottles at home, recycling  paper waste at work… Whether being “green” is the right thing to do or not, it is however the new “trend” in society, and car manufacturers are constantly developing hybrids and electric vehicles to meet this increasing demand.

Peugeot and Hyundai are no exceptions to this emerging techology.

Peugeot introduced their version of the start-stop system; the “Stop & Start system” in their hybrid vehicles. It should supposedly result in higher efficiency, lower fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions. How it works is that whenever you’re stationary, the engine stops; then restarts it again when you move off. It has the benefits of reducing fuel consumption when you’re driving by up to 15% in dense urban traffic, and reignition, which is 40% quicker. This technology is incorporated  in the 308, 3008, 508, 5008, Partner van and Partner Tepee hybrid models


Hyundai are currently only offering 1 Hybrid vehicle, the Sonata hybrid. What is interesting is that Hyundai developed their own original hybrid architecture. What’s the difference? Unlike hybrid systems constructed by Ford or Toyota, Hyundai’s system uses a new six-speed automatic transmission with an electric motor that takes the place of the torque converter, instead of a continuously variable transmission with integrated electric motors and generators. Which means that Hyundai is trying to address the common complaint that hybrids are boring to drive, and provide credible mileage for city driving conditions while delivering top-tier fuel economy for highway driving.


Additionally, Hyundai introduced a system called “Bluedrive” which is a collection of technologies which makes their car more efficient. These are all existing technologies that are found on most cars but the “bluedrive” name might persuade some customers