The future of sedans up in the air at Hyundai

Hyundai is questioning the need for conventional sedans in its lineup.

With consumers shifting to SUVs and crossovers in droves, Hyundai is questioning the need for conventional sedans altogether.

Simon Loasby, Hyundai's new global design chief, has only been on the job for six months, and already the 51-year-old is shaking things up inside the Korean automaker, and not just on the design front. In addition to plotting Hyundai's next-generation design language, he's also questioning the need for a conventional vehicle lineup.

"Do we need conventional sedans anymore?" Loasby asked rhetorically in an interview with Automotive News. "A serious question: How many more petrol-engine, diesel-engine cars do we need?”

Although SUVs are increasingly displacing sedans, Loasby's questioning of the conventional passenger car also has to do with an autonomous and electric future. Driverless and electric vehicles present the opportunity for a clean slate redesign of what the automobile should be, and Loasby, along with the rest of the industry, is grappling with that challenge.

"What excites me about the new job is the whole move toward EV platforms, autonomy, drones, robotics," Loasby said. "What's next -- that will be the challenge for us."

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