By on December 17, 2018

2018 Kia Stinger - Image: Kia

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.

Image: Hyundai

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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14 Comments on “From M to N to R&D Boss: Albert Biermann’s Promotion Has Hyundai Fans Daydreaming...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Late last week, Hyundai announced that Biermann would become the first foreign-born executive in charge of the automaker’s R&D.

    TURBO RWD ALL THE THINGS! 250-350 HP PLUS OR BUST!

    (Sorry just my daydreaming…)

  • avatar
    jatz

    Shades of Akio Toyoda’s anachronistic push for sportiness in already perfectly good product.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Hopefully he applies some magic to their EVs. A Stinger EV, if possible, could be amazing. I’d rather that than either of the turbo lumps + soggy 8AT to be honest.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Did they swap, so that the ex-Hyundai guy can further dull the edge of BMW’s SUVs (oops, sorry, SAVs)?

  • avatar
    gasser

    Perhaps he can develop a new base engine for the Santa Fe that can move the 4,000 lb. SUV with a bit of verve AND better mileage.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Theta III is in the works.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        The 2.5L Theta III is heading into production (and is rumored to be the engine for the N variant of the new Sonata).

        Speaking of being in the works; this move had been in the making as some time ago, it was announced that Biermann’s team would be on the ground floor when it came to new powertrains and platforms for H/K.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    N Line must be more than Audi S Line because only cosmetic gismos like painted calipers and a splitter that does little, and a rougher ride, have grown old. N must offer a power and torque promise, which with the 1.6 turbo is easy because its for running on 87 octane. They need an n-Line 20 HP and torque boost (or thereabouts) via programming that requires 91 octane, with the car continued to be covered under warranty. Then its a ‘real’ N approach to the market. And, that tune which is readily available now from 3rd parties, so it should be easy to do.
    Unfortunately from what I’m reading about an upcoming N Line Elantra, there is zero power or torque coming, so they lose sales to anyone with a brain and a pulse.

  • avatar
    ptschett

    I can’t help but think that MNRD would be a terrible shift quadrant design for an automatic. (Wanna go from normal mode D to manumatic mode? Gotta stop and shift thru Reverse.)

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    Hyundai has fans?


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