It used to be that the company name was also a brand name and used with every model the company sold. However, in recent times, especially with the advent of electric vehicles (EVs), some companies are finding that it would be better to create a dedicated sub-brand for such vehicles and give them more prominence.
Hyundai Motor is the latest to do so with the announcement of the IONIQ brand which will be for EVs. Most readers would know that the IONIQ name has already been used by a Hyundai model. The name, which fuses ‘ion’ and ‘unique’ was first introduced in 2016 as ‘Project IONIQ’, a long-term R&D project focused on eco-friendly mobility.
Based on the project, Hyundai introduced a model named IONIQ which was unique in that it could be powered by a choice of three powertrain options – hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid and full electric – within the same bodystyle.
Three new models in four years
Mow, the company will re-assign the model name to become a brand name. Over the next four years, the Korean carmaker will introduce a range of numerically named EVs under the new brand, with the even numbers used for sedans and the odd numbers for SUVs. These will start, in early 2021, with the IONIQ 5. In 2022 will come the IONIQ 6 sedan and in early 2024, the IONIQ 7 which will be a large SUV.
The first model, the IONIQ 5, will be a midsize CUV (Compact Utility Vehicle) based on the concept 45 which was displayed at the 2019 Frankfurt Motorshow as a homage to its very first concept car. The IONIQ 5’s designers have taken inspiration from the past and integrated it with cutting-edge parametric pixels, a unique design element that Hyundai designers will continue to incorporate into future IONIQ models.
The IONIQ 6 sedan will be based on the company’s latest concept car, the Prophecy, which made its debut 5 months ago. The IONIQ 7 SUV will share the vehicles’ common design theme of ‘Timeless Value’. The vehicles will be inspired by past models but they will be a bridge to the future, says Hyundai.
All IONIQ models will sit on an Electric Global Modular Platform, known as ‘E-GMP’, that will have fast charging capability and generous driving range. The EV-dedicated platform will allow Hyundai designers to reimagine the cabin as a ‘smart living space’ with highly adjustable seats, wireless connectivity and unique features such as a glovebox designed as drawers.
The platform paradigm shift will extend into the user interfaces that will be simple, intuitive and ergonomically designed to help occupants feel at ease.
The Hyundai Motor Group recently announced that the Group aims to sell 1 million units of battery electric vehicles (BEV) and take 10% share to become a leader in the global EV field by 2025. Under Strategy 2025, Hyundai Motor Company itself aims to become the world’s third-largest automaker of eco-friendly vehicles by 2025, with 560,000 BEV sales in addition to Fuel Cell EV sales.
Hyundai celebrated the launch of the IONIQ brand by turning the London Eye into a giant letter ‘Q’ using electric lights just before the official reopening of the famous attraction. With the otherwise bustling city of London having come to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, Hyundai is ‘bringing new energy into the city’ by lighting up and turning one of its most iconic sights once again.