Overshadowed by the simultaneous New York show, Seoul still threw up two significant new concepts from the all-powerful Hyundai and Kia group. Both point to new design directions. Hyundai’s striking Venace coupe represents a further move towards a premium sub-brand, while the Kia Cub looks set to join the Geneva show Kia Provo as a potential second line of European ‘lifestyle’ vehicles aimed at Mini and Citroën DS.
Hyundai’s Venace concept, "very close" to next year’s production successor to the Genesis coupé in the words of one senior executive, reveals a strong move away from the previous Fluidic style to a cleaner design language.
Designed in Korea by 29-year old, Ukrainian-born, US-educated Mykola Kindratyshn, Venace emphasises its rear drive layout with a long (2860mm) wheelbase, short overhangs and a long bonnet and dash-to-axle ratio, with far simpler body surfaces and volumes, rather than relying on Fluidic’s dramatic graphics and exaggerated crease lines.
"We want to use the Venace’s exterior elements, the soft volumes without aggressive lines, in the future," admits Kindratyshn.
"The look has a lot of potential for future models," says Peter Schreyer, recently promoted from Kia design boss to oversee the styling of both brands, "it shows we are not stagnating and see the future in a simpler way."
Forget the butterfly doors and the rear drive coupe reveals the look and character of the new Genesis coupe that’s confirmed for right hand drive production with both normally-aspirated and 362bhp turbocharged versions of a 3.3-litre V6, driving through Hyundai’s own 8-speed automatic.
Cub, Kia’s promised coupe turned out to be a five-door hatch with rearward opening suicide doors. Styled in Korea, Kia claims it has no plans for a production variant, though the designers admit it points to a new direction and shares some visual elements with the European Provo. Kia also unveiled the Cross GT, a large SUV concept that exposes the look of the next generation Sorento.