Hyundai taps ex-Porsche, Apple Car exec to bolster performance as it transitions to EVs

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Hyundai is bringing on ex-Porsche and Apple exec Manfred Harrer to lead the development of its new luxury Genesis Magma brand. The appointment is expected to help accelerate Hyundai Motor’s (including Kia’s) transition to electric with “top-tier” EV leadership.

Hyundai hires ex-Porsche, Apple Car exec

Hyundai Motor announced Tuesday it had hired Harrer as executive vice president and head of its newly established Genesis & Performance Development Tech Unit.

Harrer’s expertise from top-tier companies like Porsche, Apple, BMW, and Audi will “Bolster the Group’s R&D competitiveness and drive the development of Genesis products.” Hyundai expects the hiring to also enhance the performance of Hyundai and Kia vehicles as they shift to electric.

The appointment “will greatly benefit Hyundai Motor Group products, enhancing the image and reputation” of the brand, according to Heui Won Yang, president of Hyundai/Kia’s R&D division.

With over 25 years of experience, Harrer has helped advance several projects, including chassis development, electronic systems, software development, full vehicle integration, and ADAS.

Hyundai expects Harrer’s leadership and expertise will “expedite its electrification transition, securing top-tier leadership in the electric vehicle (EV) era.”

Harrer was behind the development of the iconic Porsche Cayenne and the brand’s first EV, the Porsche Taycan.

Porsche Taycan Turbo GT (Source: Porsche AG)

Poaching Apple Car talent

Most recently, Harrer served as senior director of product design engineering for three years at Apple. Apple hired Harrer from Porsche to work on its “secret” electric Apple Car project. Meanwhile, Apple canceled the EV project “Titan” after more than a decade this February.

Harrer is expected to help bolster EV development at Genesis, Hyundai, and Kia. According to the Korean Economic Daily, Hyundai is looking to recruit around ten former Apple Car engineers who have left the project.

Genesis GV60 Magma next to other high-performance vehicles (Source: Genesis)

Genesis launched Magma, “the brand’s extension into the realm of high-performance vehicles,” in March. The brand’s first concept, the GV60 Magma, is a sporty upgrade on Genesis’ first EV.

Last month, Genesis unveiled the G80 EV Magma concept, a potential answer to Tesla’s Model S Plaid.

Genesis G80 EV Magma Concept (Source: Genesis)

Harrer is expected to lead Genesis Magma EV development while contributing to Hyundai’s N performance unit. Hyundai N’s first electric car, the IONIQ 5 N, is the brand’s most powerful vehicle yet (watch it race a Lamborghini Urus Performante and Porsche Macan GTS).

Hyundai IONIQ 5 N (Source: Hyundai)

Electrek’s Take

Hyundai sees performance EVs as a critical piece of its electric future. The South Korean automaker wants to make electric cars that are not only efficient, but also sleek and fun to drive.

In an exclusive interview with Electrek, Hyundai America CEO Randy Parker told us the automaker is “humble and hungry” to separate itself from the EV pack.

Its early commitment is paying off, with EV sales surging 62% in the US in Q1. Hyundai’s IONIQ 5 and Kona Electric set new Q1 US sales records.

Parker confirmed that “demand for our vehicles, especially EVs, remains high.” Despite rivals pulling back on EV initiatives, Hyundai is “sticking to its strategy,” Parker told Electrek.

Hyundai already had six of the top ten most fuel-efficient EVs (by trim) in the US last year, but the company plans to continue improving.

Hyundai’s US boss told Electrek that the company is giving consumers confidence with its fast-charging, long-range, reliable electric cars. Perhaps most importantly, Hyundai also offers some of the most affordable EVs on the market.

According to Parker, the first three-row Hyundai electric SUV, the IONIQ 9, is “definitely coming.” It could rival larger electric SUVs like the Rivian R1S and Kia’s EV9.

With some of the most affordable, fuel-efficient EVs on the market, Hyundai’s electric cars are listed at some of the lowest prices so far. You can use our links below to find deals on Hyundai’s EVs at a dealer near you today.

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