Expect to see more high-performance models from Hyundai and Kia. The South Korean automaker has hired Ford Performance’s vehicle engineering manager, Tyrone Johnson, as Hyundai’s new Head of Department, Vehicle Test and Development. For those who don’t know Johnson, the man is credited for being the lead developer of the Ford Focus RS among other high-performance vehicles.
The report first came from Autocar UK, who says that Johnson recently took on the role formerly held by Albert Biermann this year. Upon checking his LinkedIn account, however, it says that Johnson has been working has been with Hyundai as Head of Department, Vehicle Test and Development as early as August 2018. Meanwhile, Biermann, who previously worked at BMW’s M division, was recently promoted to a lead role in Hyundai’s research and development division, and is credited for help kick-starting Hyundai’s ‘N’ Performance sub-brand including models such as the Veloster N and i30 N. It is said that Biermann also influenced development of the Kia Stinger.
As Biermann’s successor, Johnson has some big shoes to fill. Considering his portfolio at Ford Performance though and having been with Ford Motor Company for 33 years, he does fit right at home and is more than capable of doing the job at Hyundai. With the former Focus RS chief engineer now at Hyundai, the South Korean marque now has a growing asset of famed engineers and designers in the company.
Hyundai was previously reported to be developing a stand-alone sports car under the N performance division. Once in production, it would likely be the brand’s halo model going up against those from other marques. It is very likely that Johnson will help play an important role in the development of the said model along with other future Hyundai N Performance vehicles. Consider how he has already been with Hyundai for 9 months already, it won't be surprising if we see a new N-model arrive sometime soon.