Hyundai Motor Company's first dedicated electric vehicle, the IONIQ 5, won the 'Car Design of the Year' by car designers around the world. In the Concept and Production Cars Design of the Year conducted by , a network for global car designers, IONIQ 5 overtook its competitors and took the grand prize. The outstanding design of the IONIQ 5 is highlighted through the fact that it was crowned by current design leaders with experience and expertise. In particular, considering that this is the first year in which the global EV market is thriving, this award becomes even more valuable.
CDN is a network for car designers around the world, delivering the latest news about auto design, analysis, designer interviews, various competitions, and awards. Therefore, it is known to have a huge influence not only on current auto designers but also the designer-want-to-be. CDN has been announcing the best concept cars and mass-produced cars of the year through the annual magazine ＜Car Design Review＞ since 2013. The world's best car designers select the best design in each category through rigorous screening and voting for concept cars and new cars.
The Hyundai IONIQ 5 has been crowned 2021 Production Car of the Year in the prestigious industry design book, Car Design Review 8, which celebrated its 8th anniversary this year. This award has been held for newly released models and concept cars from March 2020 to March 2021. Automotive design directors from Lamborghini, Maserati, Volvo, and Volkswagen participated as judges. So, what made the IONIQ 5 attractive to the pickiest car designers? Here is the background and meaning of the award, based on the comments of the CDN judges published in the Car Design Review.
Regarding the IONIQ 5's winning as the Production Car of the Year, “Once in a while a car comes along that creates an impact on the design community. The IONIQ 5 is such a car, and its impact is evident in the sketches of many young student designers,” said Klaus Busse, vice president of design at Maserati. As he commented, the IONIQ 5 shows Hyundai Motor's innovation and potential for eco-friendly EVs, while the automobile industry is rapidly changing to future mobility. As is well known, design is not just about making things look good. After careful deliberation to bring out both the strengths and capabilities of the substance, it must have aesthetics as well as functionality; in other words, the design represents the overall marketability of the product.
Other judges described the IONIQ 5 as a “gamechanger,” highlighting the “striking surfaces and geometric patterns” on the outside of the vehicle, as well as the comfortable, livingroom-style interior. Another judge rated the IONIQ 5's posture and proportions highly, while others described it as "very bold and expressive." As the CDN judges mentioned, the IONIQ 5 features a long wheelbase, short overhangs, and sharp lines that were completed through an EV platform called E-GMP. Here, parametric pixels were applied to several major components such as headlamps, tail lamps, and wheels, to complete a unique design identity. A parametric pixel is a design element unique to Hyundai Motor's electric vehicle that embodies the pixel, the smallest unit that composes an image.
CDN's review also mentioned the purity of the design, which was associated with Hyundai's first production car, the Pony. The IONIQ 5 is the first model to realize Hyundai's philosophy in design and technology for future EVs, and it inherits the philosophy of the 'EV Concept 45' unveiled at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. The EV Concept 45 embodies Hyundai's heritage and vision for future mobility, originating from the 1974 Pony Coupe concept; in other words, it houses the past, present, and future of the brand.
This is highlighted through CDN's interview with Sang-Yup Lee, the head of the Hyundai Global Design Center and a Senior Vice President after the award; “the EV era gave us a complete blank page how to do the design for the future, because packagings are different, so we had to start thinking differently from the beginning. So, we looked back at the beginning of Hyundai Motor Company and focused on Hyundai's design heritage, which has been developed over the years. Hyundai is a relatively young brand compared to other automakers. But 50 years is not a short history. The first concept model, the Pony Coupe Concept, EV Concept 45, and IONIQ 5, all show that we can move forward by respecting the past.” Sang-Yup Lee concluded the interview with the words, “Hyundai is not only challenging the future with electric vehicles but also discovering who we are and preparing for the wonderful stories we need to tell.”
This is not the first time that the IONIQ 5 has proven its design competitiveness. At the IDEA Design Award held in the United States last September, the IONIQ 5 also received the Gold Award, the highest award in the Automotive & Transportation category. The IDEA Design Award, held since 1980, is organized by the Industrial Design Society of America (IDSA) and is considered one of the world's big three design awards along with Germany's iF Design Award and Red Dot Design Award. For reference, last year, the EV Concept 45 received the Bronze award in the Automotive & Transportation category at the IDEA Design Awards, proving Hyundai Motor's design competitiveness. In addition, it secured the prestigious Design trophy from readers of Auto Express, a British auto magazine.
Sang-Yup Lee, who directed the design of the IONIQ 5, also commented, “The praises coming from all over the world were only possible thanks to the passion and effort of designers and engineers to make their dreams come true.”
The shape of the IONIQ 5 was inspired by the 1974 Pony Coupe concept, but the details on the inside and outside - the parametric pixels, UX system, and interior spatiality - show not only its present but also its future. As such, the IONIQ 5 captivated both professionals and consumers with its futuristic design found in tradition; and still, Hyundai won't stop. Hyundai Motor Company plans to prove its competitiveness in future design once again with its electric sedan IONIQ 6 and electric SUV IONIQ 7 in the future. For this reason, people are waiting for the completion of Hyundai's next-generation EV lineup.
HMG Journal Operation Teamgroup@hyundai.com
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