Blog: Dave LeggettDummy-nomics and an almost forgotten red Elan

Dave Leggett | 12 November 2013

Hyundai-Kia's R&D centre at Namyang was a fascinating whirlwind.

Among the highlights was a look at the wind tunnel (which will deliver a 200 km/h wind blast), a vast proving ground (which included a dust tunnel) and the crash test facility. There were some sights to make the jaw drop. Unfortunately, as is standard, all cameras were confiscated. That's a pity. There was a particularly surreal sight in the crash test facility area. The dummies were 'resting', arms/hands all raised above their heads. It looked like a mass surrender.

How much does a crash test dummy cost to buy? Answer: an incredible $200,000-$300,000. They are high value bits of kit.

There was also a museum with a number of blasts from the past on display - eg late 1970s vintage Hyundai Pony, white-walled tyres fitted Kia Pride from 1993 and so on. But our party of journalists was captivated by one car in particular. In the corner was a red Lotus Elan, but it wasn't a Lotus. No, it was a Kia and it was made by Kia in Korea in the late 1990s and fitted with a Kia engine. Some 1,000 Kia Elans were made, of which around 250 were exported. I guess it was an attempt to do some final business on the old model after it was replaced by Elise. My word, though, what an automotive curiosity and I wonder where they are now...

Sectors: Technology/R&D

Companies: Lotus, Kia, Hyundai

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