With a press conference set consisting of lights and music that closely resembled the set of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, today Hyundai introduced the ix Metro and ix35 SUV. Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun started the conference noting that Hyundai is bent on “shifting Blue Drive into overdrive” — a new scheme to reduce emissions and increase efficiency through the implementation of plug-in hybrids, electric drives, and clean diesel engines. New efforts will also be focused on strengthening the Hyundai brand image, which Eui-sun believes is lagging behind the strength of the products. With a renewed focus and cooperation with dealer networks, Hyundai is aiming to create the best buying experience possible for customers.
It’s not every day that you hear the words “sci-fi spacecraft” and “humble pine cone” in the same sentence — much less to describe the design of a concept car — but these are the words with which lead designer Sandy Hartono described the exterior and interior of the new ix Metro concept. With a practical, safe, and efficient design, this concepts aims to appeal to young urbanite Europeans. This mean-looking little bugger may be more at home on the streets of Seoul than Europe, but nonetheless it foreshadows the future of Hyundai’s small urban SUVs.
A product Hyundai hopes will deliver huge profits, the ix35 is a “reinvention of the SUV” — combines Hyundai’s new corporate “fluidic sculpture” design language and the profile of a coupe rather the typical two-box rendition. Shown here today was the production version that will hit showrooms in Europe in the middle of next year and will likely follow in the US as the replacement for the Tucson. Completely designed right here in Frankfurt by Hyundai’s European design team, the SUV provides a new direction for Hyundai styling and is the pioneer for a new corporate hexagonal grill. Hyundai is aiming for sales of 100,000 units by 2011, and by combining a practical package with decent fuel economy, that may not be an unrealistic goal.
Blog and photos by Tom Baroch