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Hyundai i45 design 'out there'


It's fussy, with plenty of chrome and some complicated panel creases that test the high build quality standard of the South Korean manufacturer.  However, Hyundai's North American design manager Andre Hudson, is proud that a lot of his out-there styling cues have carried through to the production vehicle.  "Our speed of development at Hyundai means the original idea stays very true and doesn't get watered down," he says.

He points to two main features which made it from the drawing board to the showroom - the chrome strip down three-quarters of the side of the car and the C pillar "porthole" window.  "The chrome strip under the window sills goes all the way to the headlights across three separate panels. Getting them lined up is a testing process," he says.

The C pillar window is one of his favourites.  "I'm so proud that the glass carried through to production despite the extra cost. It gives more sense of space."

Hudson spent seven years with GM in Detroit and the UK before moving to Hyundai five years ago.  "That has given me a border approach to designing cars and understanding the European market," he says.

Hyundai has studios in South Korea, southern California China, India, Germany and Japan.  "In the US this is considered a large car," he says.

"I was 30 when I started on this project and designing a medium-sized family vehicle is not something you dream of doing at that age.  "However, I can now see it being a family car for me for the future."

The car continues Hyundai's theme of 'fluidic sculpture'. "It's time to make an emotional connection with our customers and pull at people's hearts a little," he says, referring to the car's "natural organic quality" and "athletic and taut" lines.

"There is a movement of line on this vehicle. It looks like it's in motion when it's standing still," he says.  He also describes the front grille as looking like a bird of prey.

While the exterior was designed in the US, Hudson's studios collaborated with South Korea on the colours, introducing a metallic red to Hyundai's line-up for the first time and an adventurous "espresso brown" which looks almost black except in direct sunlight.