Ioniq could become HMG’s next standalone brand after Genesis

Hyundai Motor Group, the parent company of Hyundai, Kia and Genesis, could be envisioning a fourth brand in its portfolio – Ioniq. Ioniq is already moving on from being a model series to a sub-brand, and could further turn into a separately established company when the time comes. Note that Ioniq models that come out starting next year are to be sold via Hyundai dealerships sporting the usual ‘H’ badge.

The future is not only electric but also autonomous, highly digital and experimental. The divide between what countries can afford and accept may only become wider moving forward. While emerging countries are also taking slowly to electric vehicles, many of them, like India, for instance, can’t afford the progressive technologies that are introduced with them. Tesla Model 3‘s autonomous driving systems, Honda e’s highly digital interior, Nikola Badger‘s hybrid alternative energy powertrains, etc. are some good examples of how technology is not affordable for everyone.

The name Ioniq at Hyundai Motor Group is associated with being future-forward. In 2015, it was the name used for the world’s first car available with three different electrified powertrains. From 2021, it will be used for Hyundai brand’s next-gen EVs based on a dedicated EV platform called ‘Electric Global Modular Platform’ (E-GMP). These EVs will be ready for the next-gen EV technologies, including solid-state batteries and possibly mass-level hydrogen fuel-cell systems, as well as highly advanced autonomous driving systems among others.

Hyundai Ioniq teaser image
In 2021 Ioniq grows to become a sub-brand and the 3 Ioniq cars announced (5, 6 & 7) would carry Hyundai badges and retail through Hyundai dealerships.

HMG probably sees its entire portfolio 100% electric eventually, and when that time comes, there will be markets which can still afford only basic electric cars and others who demand and can afford highly advanced electric cars with all the new and experimental technologies in the industry. Around this time, a separate Ioniq brand with a whole line-up of EVs must sound like an attractive proposition for HMG.

In 2015, Hyundai Motor Group turned the name of the well-known flagship Hyundai luxury car – Genesis – into a standalone luxury vehicle brand. The possibility of a similar Ioniq spin-off largely depends on how well low-cost electric vehicles for emerging markets, more advanced electric vehicles for developed countries and luxury electric vehicles can be differentiated in the future, and the need for it.

Hyundai Strategy 2025

HMG aims to sell 1 million battery electric vehicles and hold a 10% share in global BEV sales by 2025. The Hyundai subsidiary alone has set a target of selling 5,60,000 BEVs, in addition to hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles, and aims to become the No.3 eco-friendly vehicle brand worldwide by the same year.

Hyundai Ioniq line-up

HMG has announced three Hyundai Ioniq models. First is the Hyundai Ioniq 5 mid-size crossover, the production version of the Hyundai 45 concept, arriving in early 2021. The next launch will be the Hyundai Ioniq 6 sedan, the production version of the Hyundai Prophecy concept, in 2022. The third model is the Hyundai Ioniq 7 large SUV, which will arrive in early 2024.

Hyundai Ioniq 1-10

While just three Hyundai Ioniq models have been confirmed so far, has learnt that trademark applications for Hyundai Ioniq names from 1-10 have been filed. Clearly, the company is keeping doors open for a wider range and could use some of the names in the future. In fact, just earlier this week it was reported that a Hyundai Ioniq 3 compact crossover is planned and will be manufactured at a first-ever Hyundai Singapore plant from 2022.

Hyundai Smart EVs

As a sub-brand or a standalone brand, Ioniq probably doesn’t hold potential for India at this point for many reasons. Here, HMG will likely rely on the Hyundai and Kia brands to sell EVs. The South Korean conglomerate has approved the ‘Smart EV’ project that is about low-cost Hyundai electric cars for India starting in 2022.