Hyundai-i20-WRC

Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) has announced that it has appointed BMW M veteran Albert Biermann (pictured below) as the firm’s new Head of Vehicle Test & High Performance Development division. Biermann joins the Korean carmaker as it ramps up development of models that are more performance-oriented.

“Biermann has unrivalled credentials in this field and his expertise and experience will help us bring forward the development of new Hyundai and Kia cars that are great to drive,” said HMC vice chairman Woong Chul Yang.

With over 30 years of experience in developing high-performance BMW M models, Biermann will leave behind his current position as vice president of engineering at BMW M Automobiles and BMW Individual to take up his new responsibility in Seoul come April 2015. Biermann first joined BMW in 1983.

Apart from heading the development of future performance Hyundai and Kia models, Biermann will also be responsible for supervising projects related to improving the ride, handling, safety, reliability and NVH (noise, vibrations and harshness) standards of current models across the range.

The Korean automaker has been in the process of upping its performance credentials – it opened a purpose-built Hyundai test centre at the Nurburgring track in Germany earlier in the year. The centre handles on-ground development work as well as assess steering, suspension, ride and handling characteristics to define new set-ups suited to the preferences of European drivers.

There’s also Hyundai N, a sub-brand that will field a series of high-performance and dynamically-focused road-going models in the near future.

Upon his appointment, Biermann stated that “it (Hyundai) is a company I have watched closely as it has taken on its key competitors and quickly established a strong customer base in Europe. 2015 is a key year for the brand with the launch of many all-new models and the start of its second season in WRC, so I am really looking forward to the challenge.”

Besides honing the next wave of performance models, Biermann will also serve as an advisor on product and marketing strategy for the European market. His appointment makes him the second-highest foreign executive to be hired after design chief Peter Schreyer was poached from Audi AG in the mid-2000s.