German auto industry veteran Albert Biermann, a former engineering chief of BMW’s storied M division, has been hired by Hyundai to oversee the development of new performance cars for the Korean brand and those from its sister brand Kia.
Biermann, 57, has been assigned the role of head of vehicle testing and high performance development, with his main goal being to get Hyundai and Kia cars at or near the top of their segments for “rewarding driving dynamics.” Importantly, his role will also include responsibility for some all-new performance vehicles and their associated technologies.
Hyundai has made moves in the recent past to boost its performance image, a key step in its overarching goal to move further upmarket and capture bigger margins. This has included the reveal of several exciting concepts over the past couple of years as well as a greater role in motorsport. Hyundai has also built a test center at the Nürburgring and established a new performance division linked with its WRC efforts.
Biermann, who has worked at BMW since 1983, will be based at Hyundai's main R&D Center in Namyang, Korea, and one of his first tasks will be to help accelerate the roll-out of some new high-performance vehicles. One of these could be a new sports car from Hyundai or perhaps a production version of 2011’s Kia GT concept. Also due soon is the next-generation Hyundai Genesis Coupe.
It is expected that Biermann’s appointment will also benefit Hyundai’s involvement in WRC, thanks to increased sharing of performance technologies and insights between engineering departments from the road and racing sides. He will start his new role at Hyundai on April 1, 2015.
“I couldn’t be more excited to join Hyundai Motor Group,” he said in a statement. “It is a company I have watched closely as it has taken on its key competitors and quickly established a strong customer base in Europe."