Luxury automakers focus on too much "stupid" tech, Genesis performance boss says

Genesis G70

Genesis G70

Genesis’ performance chief Albert Biermann had some harsh words for the brand’s German rivals. The former BMW M boss of 30 years said rival brands invest too much in unnecessary technology, and it gives Genesis a clear path forward for quality and longevity.

“It’s all marketing, first of all,” Biermann told Drive. “How many people really buy it later on? Much of this exists for media, to give a hype, to show the technology level.” He said Hyundai chairman Chung Mong-koo wants all Genesis cars to act as if they are brand new in ten years’ time. To make that happen, Genesis has looked past some of the glamour German brands embrace, and the Korean luxury brand tests its cars at a standard higher than those of other luxury makes.

Albert Biermann

Albert Biermann

“Our testing is much more intense,” he said. “We have 30,000 km (18,000 miles) test driving in [Hyundai’s research and development headquarters] Namyang, with all the bad cobblestones and potholes you cannot imagine. We run our cars there for 30,000 km, and then on top of that, we do 10,000 km (6,200 miles) at the Nürburgring.” As we have reported, Audi Sport runs its cars for about 5,000 miles on the Nürburgring.

Ultimately, Biermann said Genesis cars will perform best for customers, and even though they may not have as-fancy option sheets, they’ll perform just as well if not better. “In our G90 you will not find any air suspension, or active roll bars, or active whatever. A camera sensing the road, and this stuff. It’s stupid. We have a solid Hyundai steel platform, tons of high-strength steel.”

While there is certainly something to be said for a solid platform, there is no shame in reducing weight. Hyundai is a steel manufacturer as well, so its cars will likely never use aluminum. And technologies like active roll bars, air suspensions, and cameras that sense the road and ready the suspension for what is coming have been found to be effective.

Still, Biermann’s comments are fighting words, but Genesis is ready for a match. It recently revealed the G70, the car it believes will crack the immensely competitive compact luxury-sport sedan segment.

Only time will tell if customers agree with Biermann or stick with the German brands.

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