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Hyundai Motor hires ex-Porsche engineer to lead high-performance push

Manfred Harrer to lead new tech team for Genesis, N brands

By Kan Hyeong-woo

Published : May 28, 2024 - 15:12

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Manfred Harrer, executive vice president and head of Genesis & Performance Development Tech Unit at Hyundai Motor Group (Hyundai Motor Group) Manfred Harrer, executive vice president and head of Genesis & Performance Development Tech Unit at Hyundai Motor Group (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor Group has recruited Manfred Harrer, former lead developer of Porsche’s first all-electric vehicle Taycan, to take the helm of developing products for the Korean carmaker’s luxury brand Genesis and Hyundai Motor’s high-performance N series, the company said Tuesday.

According to the auto conglomerate, Harrer has been appointed as the head of Genesis & Performance Development Tech Unit, which operates under the Research & Development Division of Hyundai Motor Company and Kia.

The company said the latest talent acquisition to the automaker’s product development unit is expected to enhance the R&D competitiveness as well as the performance attributes of Genesis, Hyundai and Kia vehicles.

“My commitment to Hyundai Motor Group is driven by a profound belief in their visionary approach to advanced mobility solutions,” said Harrer.

“With my extensive experience in the automotive and tech industry, I am dedicated to playing a pivotal role in the future evolution of Genesis and high-performance vehicles within the Group.”

Harrer has been in the automotive and tech industry since 1997, working at Audi, BMW, Porsche and Apple. The 51-year-old’s range of expertise includes chassis development, electronic systems, software development, full vehicle integration and advanced driver assistance systems.

During his 14-year tenure at Porsche, Harrer was not only involved in the development of internal combustion engine vehicles such as the sports utility vehicle Cayenne but also contributed to the birth of the German sports car brand’s first EV -- the Taycan -- as the vice president of chassis development.

Harrer’s hiring at Apple as the senior director of product design engineering garnered attention when it was first reported in February 2021 amid rumors of the Apple car project. However, Apple’s decade-long autonomous EV dream officially ended in February this year when the iPhone maker shifted resources to focus on generative artificial intelligence.

"The appointment of Manfred Harrer as executive vice president and head of the Genesis & Performance Development Tech Unit will greatly benefit Hyundai Motor Group products, enhancing the image and reputation of our mobility brands," said Yang Heui-won, president of the Hyundai-Kia Research & Development Division.

“As a world-renowned performance vehicle expert, Manfred will contribute significantly to the development of future Genesis luxury high-performance models, as well as our transition to electrification for Hyundai Motor and Kia brands."