Hyundai Sees Quicker Turns as Key to Future

The Hyundai Motor Company wants to increase the pace at which it designs and manufactures new vehicles. The automotive manufacturer is already seen as one of the fastest in the industry, and its corporate culture thrives on what they call “Hyundai Speed,” but, apparently, the car maker believes that even quicker turnaround on their vehicle lineup is key to future success.

While the “Hyundai Speed” mantra usually applies to engineering and production, the company now wants to have its product design timelines slashed to roll out new models at a breakneck pace. The company will be looking to implement this process on its Genesis marque to better take advantage of changing consumer wants in the competitive luxury segment.

The current average timeline for a vehicle to go from the drawing board to the production line is around three years, and Hyundai wants this to be dropped to one year, which is hugely ambitious. The project has been kicked off with the opening of a new design studio at the company’s massive 330,000 square foot research and development center near Seoul. The studio cost an estimated $67 million dollars and includes high definition 3D printing centers – which are estimated to be able to produce a half of a car in one go! The company estimates that they will be able to cut current timelines by as much as 30% in the first year alone.

We can only hope that the shortened timetable still allows for appropriate testing and safety standards. Doesn’t this sound like the beginning of a disastrous case study taught in business school? Even if the vehicles meet all safety and consumer standards, we wonder if we can afford to make and buy cars at such a frenetic pace. GM has already demonstrated that it’s easy to manufacture far more cars than you can sell, pushing inventory and discounts to incredible heights, and the used car market already faces a glut of almost-new inventory that, according to some observers, can pull buyers out of the new car market. Designing and manufacturing a new car once a year sounds like an enormous challenge. Good luck!