Hyundai has been kicking ass with some fantastic production cars and SUVs. But we never expected the concepts it has shown over the last few months to ever see production. Thankfully, we were wrong. Both the “45” concept shown the middle of last year and the more recent “Prophecy” sedans have been green-lighted for production. They will each be all-electric. The 45 will be revealed before the end of the year and the Prophecy will be in production by 2021. How great is this? Not one but two incredible Hyundai concepts are going into production.
Seldom do concept cars migrate into production
Seldom do concept cars migrate into production. In the cases of both the 45 and Prophecy, we were told they were styling exercises to explore directions Hyundai designers might incorporate into future models. We’re always amazed that great-looking concepts can’t be maintained as production models. It happens, but not too often.
The 45 made its debut at the beginning of October at the Frankfurt Auto Show last year. It will be underpinned by Hyundai’s new Electric Global Modular Platform architecture. It will go into production later this year.
The Prophecy concept will be the next Hyundai Ioniq
The Prophecy concept will be the next Hyundai Ioniq. It should appear before the end of 2021. Both cars look vastly different and this is by-well, by design. SangYup Lee, Hyundai Senior Vice-President and Head of Hyundai Global Design Center told the UK’s Auto Express, “The 45 is more inspired by the 1970s, but a more modern SUV style that’s more mainstream. Prophecy is inspired by the 1930s streamlined era.”
He says these two cars show the wide spectrum of what Hyundai design can do. But the important point is that Hyundai in the future will avoid what Lee calls the “Russian Doll” approach to brand design. That is when a theme is applied to all models across the board.
If a vehicle’s design is distinctive then it doesn’t need to follow a brand theme
BMW is a good example of that. It carries its design theme from the 7 Series sedan down to the 3 Series. Its 5 Series is a smaller version of the 7 and larger version of the 3 Series. If a vehicle’s design is distinctive enough then it doesn’t need to follow a brand theme to identify what it is.
We’d say that will be the case with the 45 and Ionic. Neither will look like a “Hyundai” but will be instantly recognizable as Hyundais. This philosophy should trigger a lot of variety. If you don’t like the Audi or BMW look then you are probably not interested in any of their products. But with variety within a company like the case of the 45 and Prophecy, you may not like one but you love the other.
“Our cars will be more like a chessboard where you have a King, Queen, Bishop, and Knight”
Driving home the point Lee says, “Our cars will be more like a chessboard where you have a King, Queen, Bishop, and Knight,” Lee says. “They all look different and function differently but when they’re together they come as one team. This is what the Hyundai look is all about – diversifying our design to fulfill our customer’s lifestyle.”
Lee elaborates by saying, “People say that you have to have a default with the grille looking the same and headlights looking the same, but we want to challenge that consistency in detail. So the cars will look completely different.”
“The Prophecy is a future sedan-but not a traditional type of sedan”
“The Prophecy is a future sedan-but not a traditional type of sedan,” says Lee. “It will have lots of space inside and more curvature so that it means a lot.”
With its recent successes, Hyundai is stretching out and forming its own path forward. We like what we’re hearing and seeing.