The auto industry moves fast. The most successful brands put plenty of resources, research, and money into the cladding of commercial property because the dealership experience is essential to attracting the right customers. The modern wisdom of sales and marketing tells us that people are more likely to make purchases based on feeling, not a specification or features–these modern auto brands are often renovating cladding on commercial property to serve the state of mind that their target audience is seeking.
Modern cladding products, such as the increasingly popular Aluminum Composite Material (ACM), are likely choices for these brands: the glossy and sleek finish of ACM is a great encapsulation for that of a car’s metallic body. ACM has emerged as a likely option, especially for Hyundai. The South Korean manufacturer has, in the last ten years, undergone two re-imaginings of their many dealerships–changing their “preferred design” for franchises twice.
Why the constant need for a renovation? What about ACM makes Hyundai continue to use it for their redesigns? What could this imply for your own commercial property? All these questions, and more, will be answered, as we use Hyundai as a cladding case study.
Hyun Dai, Modern Exterior Design
It is no surprise that Hyundai often tinkers with its exterior designs. The company got its name from the Korean words “Hyun” and “Dai,” which together translate to “modern era.” The company was initially founded as an engineering and construction company in 1947. While the focus is now on building cars, their construction roots can be seen in their attention to dealership design and their corporate identity pushes them to employ cutting-edge materials such as ACM.
Blue Is The New Green
By the turn of the 21st century, Hyundai had notoriety as one of the major players on the world stage. Pioneers in the electric and hybrid space, 20 years of prototyping and development came to fruition with the reveal of the Sonata at the 2008 LA Auto Show.
Heading into the 2011 launch of the hybrid electric Sonata, Hyundai had made sustainability a key fixture of their brand image. Blue had been their primary brand color since the late 70s, and they went all-in on this to enforce their eco-friendly identity. This may seem odd to us today, as green is the color associated with sustainability.
At the time, blue was expected to replace green when it came to “environmentalism 2.0”–an idea endorsed by JWT, the US’s largest advertising agency. While such an industry-spanning rebrand of environmentalism failed to have staying power, there was a while when blue embodied the latest in electric vehicles–an idea permeated by Hyundai’s bold lean in on the color. The South Korean company’s “Blue Drive” campaign had begun.
Around this time, Hyundai felt the need to revamp its visual presence by renovating the exteriors of 815 United States-based dealerships. They partnered with Architectural Graphics Incorporated (AGI), and ALPOLIC ACM panels were commonly used throughout construction.
ALPOLIC is well known in the industry for its corporate ID program, which provides brands with the exact finishes they need to meet their brand guidelines. The ability to inject Hyundai’s Blue Drive campaign into the impressive walls of their dealerships, accented by their complementary silver brand color, set Hyundai out from the crowd. Up until a few years ago, if it was blue, if it was a dealership, it was Hyundai. But the South Korean manufacturer was not finished reimagining itself–and it turned time for another facelift.
A New Luxury
since the mid-2010s, Hyundai has slowly been rolling out a new ACM-driven look. This time, the onus is on Luxury. Hyundai got a taste of the premium automobile market with the installation of their Genesis line of vehicles, now under their own label. In addition, Hyundai got too late rounds of negotiation to manufacture the highly anticipated line of cars from the luxury brand and tech giant Apple. These talks may have fallen through, but the latest approved design for Hyundai dealerships shows a high-tech elegance that embodies the shifting focus of the brand.
Subverting the classic blue in favor of a sophisticated glossy bronze, ACM is used to tell a completely different story than that of the renovations mentioned prior. “Our goal is to introduce a more modern, premium look to our dealerships,” Don Romano, CEO of Hyundai Auto Canada Corp., said in a press release. “One that will elevate the perception Canadians have of our brand in the same way our fluidic sculpture vehicle design elevated their perception of our products.”
Far from the boxy Pony model that had brought the brand to prominence in the 1980s, Hyundai was now known for the fluidity of its designs, and the smooth and aerodynamic curves articulated in its logo. ACM was an excellent choice to embody this, for its ease of fabrication which allowed the cladding manufacturer–this time around Alucobond–the opportunity to create paneling with unique curves.
Cladding You Can Feel
When it comes to standing out, the neutral and earthy tone of bronze is a daring choice–especially in contrast to the electric blue that Hyundai buildings once wore. It is the metallic finish of ACM that makes the design’s color pop–the dealerships are not just colored bronze, the walls glow and shine like bronze too.
As a neutral tone, bronze ACM is a clearer channel to reflect the sun, passing lights, and the sky in comparison to stronger colors. The result is a dynamic and ever-changing exterior design–in which customers can ascribe their own feelings. Some may look and see an ever tasteful and practical brown, others may look up to catch a glimpse of exorbitant gold.
We began this exploration by noting that the modern customer makes decisions based on feeling. Hyundai’s newest exterior design leaves space for their patrons to do just that.
Is It Time For A Revamp?
Two major renovation projects within ten years may seem like overkill, but the exterior design is something that the biggest players in many industries make no compromises about. For a car dealer such as Hyundai, competing in a market where foot traffic is still a major indicator of success, the need to stay fresh, modern, and innovative applies to their buildings as much as it does to their vehicles.
If you own commercial property, you likely have a good idea of where Hyundai is coming from. Tastes evolve, your vision for your business grows to new opportunities, and you pivot to give your customers the feeling that they are after.
If you are in this boat, we would love to find ways that our stunning ACM products and cladding services can stand for your success. If your building is ready for a facelift, we invite you to call our office at +1(905) 761 9791, to explore the next great look your commercial property will don.