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Drew Smith: ethnographer, strategist and host of Rising Minds

Drinking the Kool-aid Pt. 2: Hyundai loves Mazda

The book of the generation of the Hyundai i-Flow, the son of Mazda, the son of Hyundai.

Sassou begat Nagare;

and Nagare begat Ryuga;

and Ryuga begat Hakaze and his brethren Kazamai, Furai, Taiki and Kiyora;

And then Sassou invited his bretheren to a swingers party with a dude from Hyundai and they all got jiggy and begat the i-Flow.

As I’ve previously said, Hyundai is often a flatterer of the sincerest kind when it comes to their production cars. Their concepts, on the other hand, have always been deeply innovative, utilising new materials and developing a unique Korean aesthetic.

Although I’m unable to comment on technological innovation found in the i-Flow, it seems that developing Hyundai’s design identity certainly wasn’t on the agenda. Apparently, building on Mazda’s identity definitely was. I needn’t point out that the Japanese word nagare, the name of the whole Mazda concept series, translates into English as flow.

I think this must be the first case of a brand taking another brand’s productionised conceptual design language and making it conceptual again. My mind hurts as much as it boggles.

Category: Design Strategy

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One Response

  1. Massimo says:

    i am puzzled…is this a case of

    KOREANS smartly KOREANS…or JAPANESE SLEEPY JAPANESE….

    i would go for the second one…
    i mean….MAZDA has been clearly been PIMPED!!

    The KOREANS right now are laughing: “You sleepy “THICK” did the concepts…now we do the cars (production) … and we even take your name out of it….I FLOW….” in Japanese: I NAGARE…

    THERE ARE ONLY 2 OPTIONS FOR THIS CASE…AND BOTH VALID..

    1) THIS is ultimately the absence of a structured “DECISION MAKING PROCESS” (very visible in the latest Toyota pedal case)….
    where all the decision have to be taken collegially rather than individually…and
    this is turning the Japanese car industry on the cliff rock….

    as MAZDA have this language from basically 4 years…..
    and not been able to do anything with it……rather than some bumpers…..not even able to use the name……

    WHICH BRING US TO THE SECOND…OPTIONS…

    Could it be that yes Mazda did the concepts because they have received in first place the NAGARE-FLOW language, through a kind of WHISTLE BLOWING…and once finish to use what they received (let’s basically from the sky)…THEY WERE NOT ABLE TO MAKE THE MOST OUT IT, SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOT CONCEPTUALIZE IT IN FIRST PLACE….

    Right now…I am laughing…and although i like Mazda as company….shame on Mazda…..not on Hyunday…

    Bear with me i don’t like I-FLOW HYUNDAY…I don’t like it at all….it is hoorible…overdone, not settle, vulgar…
    a flow is never vulgar even when is powerful…

    but you see…

    HYUNDAY is doing THE COPY OF THE COPY…

    BECAUSE Drew your analysis starts from SASSOU…
    BUT you should not very well what has happened between SASSOU and NAGARE (1st concept)…

    …….I must admit that they have taken everything…too much and without shame or regret..but at least they DID IT…

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