Most carmakers play nice with the competition. When asked about other cars the diplomatic executive steers the conversation back to his/her favorite topic, namely their own cars. Genesis Head of Performance Albert Biermann isn’t most car execs. This week, according to reports from Motor Trend, Biermann took dead aim at German automakers in particular, and his former employer (BMW) in particular. He said that too many car companies invest in, what he called, “stupid tech.”
Biermann dismissed a lot of the new features in luxury cars, calling it “all marketing.” He then added, “Much of this exists for media, to give a hype, to show the technology level. But how many people really buy it later on? If the tech will fail, you’re just adding the burden to the buyer, right?”
According to Biermann, Genesis has decided to focus on simpler, more useful features that can be trusted to work for years to come. That’s partly because Hyundai chairman Chung Mong-koo wants the automaker’s cars to still drive like new after 10 years on the road. To achieve that goal, the cars undergo rigorous testing during development, and Genesis testing is legendary. In other words, road testing over driver’s gesture sensors and cabin perfume diffusers. That’s the Biermann way.
Back in the day, car companies regularly tested their cars for 30,000 or more miles before releasing them to the public. Over all surfaces and in all conditions the cars were examined. Non-luxury makes have pared down their testing. Some test for 10,000 miles, others 5k. Some critics claim that a few carmakers don’t test at all! Genesis and parent company Hyundai take a different path to the showroom. They test over mixed roads for 18,000 miles, and on the high-speed Nurburgring for another 5,000 miles.
Genesis and parent company Hyundai take a different path to the showroom. They test over mixed roads for 18,000 miles, and on the high-speed Nurburgring for another 5,000 miles.
In addition to his newsmaking comments concerning stupid technology, Biermann had a few words to say about the growing average size of the automobile. At a certain size, he believes, carmakers are going to have to stop pretending their cars handle well.
What point is Biermann trying to make? Is he blowing off steam because his car lacks some of the frou-frous he claims to despise? Perhaps, but he wants buyers desiring a luxury car focused more on comfort and reliability than gimmicks to look his way. Gildshire will keep an eye on Genesis to see if Biermann’s words create buzz. It should be interesting.