From M to N to R&D Boss: Albert Biermann's Promotion Has Hyundai Fans Daydreaming

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
from m to n to r d boss albert biermanns promotion has hyundai fans daydreaming

What new products will Albert Biermann spearhead? That’s what Hyundai watchers wonder as they read that the former BMW M performance head — and later boss of Hyundai’s fledgling N division — has in store for the Korean automaker.

Late last week, Hyundai announced that Biermann would become the first foreign-born executive in charge of the automaker’s R&D. He does so after getting the Kia Stinger and Hyundai N line off the ground; clearly, those at the top approve of his vision. With this latest appointment, Hyundai Motor Group now finds itself with a former Bimmer performance chief and a design head from Bentley. Not a bad place to be.

Biermann, who joined the company in April 2015, is one of 17 Hyundai execs who found themselves in a new role following the recent shakeup. The credit for this likely goes to Euisun Chung, who, in September, became the group’s executive vice-chairman. Chung is the 48-year-old son of 80-year-old chairman Mong-Koo Chung.

As the group’s performance boss and head of Hyundai’s N division, Biermann drew on years of experience at BMW, a company he joined in 1983. The exec worked his way up to vice president of engineering at BMW M Automobiles in 2008. Fond of saying power is nothing without handling, Biermann quickly went to work tackling Hyundai’s dearth of performance-oriented models; his promotion comes as the first N-badged vehicle, the Hyundai Veloster N, begins arriving on U.S. shores.

It’s Biermann who can be credited with helping Hyundai and Kia shed some of their staid, economy car image. More N models will come, as will N Line variants of current vehicles. Think of N Line as a regular model with a modicum of extra flavor. The Kia Stinger, on the other hand, is the rear-drive sports sedan no one ever expected Kia to build, and it’s all Biermann’s doing. That model became the basis for the just-launched Genesis G70.

Less than four years after Biermann joined the company, Hyundai Motor has more than just sensible compacts and snoozy crossovers to talk about. Now, everyone’s talking about what we can expect next.

[Images: Hyundai]

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Dec 17, 2018

    Yeah, Kia will become sport sedan icon just like Cadillac became the fashion item because of that Johan or whatever that German guy's name was.

    • Kushman1 Kushman1 on Dec 19, 2018

      Go test drive a stinger yourself and then get back to us. I own one and it's the real the deal.

  • Thejohnnycanuck Thejohnnycanuck on Dec 17, 2018

    Hyundai has fans?

    • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Dec 18, 2018

      "Hyundai has fans?" Yeah, one is in front of engine and another one is in climate control - you can even change speed if you wish!

  • MaintenanceCosts Despite my hostile comments above I really can't wait to see a video of one of these at the strip. A production car running mid-eights is just bats. I just hope that at least one owner lets it happen, rather than offloading the car from the trailer straight into a helium-filled bag that goes into a dark secured warehouse until Barrett-Jackson 2056.
  • Schurkey Decades later, I'm still peeved that Honda failed to recall and repair the seat belts in my '80 Civic. Well-known issue with the retractors failing to retract.Honda cut a deal with the NHTSA at that time, to put a "lifetime warranty" on FUTURE seat belts, in return for not having to deal with the existing problems.Dirtbags all around. Customers screwed, corporation and Government moves on.
  • Bullnuke An acquaintance of mine 50+ years ago who was attending MIT (until General Hershey's folks sent him his "Greetings" letter) converted an Austin Mini from its staid 4 cylinder to an electric motored fuel cell vehicle. It was done as a project during his progression toward a Master Degree in Electrical Engineering. He told me it worked pretty well but wasn't something to use as a daily driver given the technology and availability of suitable components of the time. Fueling LH2 and LOX was somewhat problematic. Upon completion he removed his fuel cell and equipment and, for another project, reinstalled the 4 banger but reassembled it without mechanical fasteners using an experimental epoxy adhesive instead which, he said, worked much better and was a daily driver...for awhile. He went on to be an enlisted Reactor Operator on a submarine for a few years.
  • Ajla $100k is walking around money but this is almost certainly the last Dodge V8 vehicle and it's likely to be the most powerful factory-installed and warrantied pushrod engine ever. So there is some historical applicability to things even if you have an otherwise low opinion of the Challenger.And, like I said up thread, if you still hate it will be gone soon anyway.
  • Carlson Fan GM completely blew the marketing of the Volt. The commercials were terrible. You'd swear they told the advertising company to come up with an ad that would make sure no one went out and shopped a Volt after seeing it!...........LOL My buddy asked why I bought a car that only goes 40 miles on a charge? That pretty much sums up how confusing and uninformative the advertising was.