Hyundai debuts 'N' performance sub-brand
'Mass-produced higher performance' line announced at launch event for automaker's WRC race car and team.
World Rally Championship (WRC) racing fans will be happy to know that Hyundai unveiled its team line-up at an event in Germany this week in preparation for the kickoff of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship in Monte Carlo next month.
And fans of affordable high-performance Asian cars will be happy that Hyundai also used the occasion to announce its new "N" sub-brand that will borrow go-fast technology from Hyundai's i20-based WRC car.
In a statement announcing the WRC team, Hyundai said the new N brand represents “the company's passion for high performance.” It added that “N takes inspiration in both name and spirit from the Namyang R&D Centre that collaborated with Hyundai Motorsport on the development of the i20 WRC.”
Hyundai’s entry into WRC has been building for over a year, after the Korean car company pulled the wraps off of the i20 WRC car at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. The full team Hyundai will field for the 2014 WRC includes Thierry Neuville and additional drivers Juho Hänninen, Dani Sordo and Chris Atkinson.
The announcement of the N sub-brand wasn’t a complete surprise; the company suggested earlier this year that it may introduce a European performance sub-brand. Hyundai hasn’t yet divulged details on which of its current production cars may get the N performance treatment (the WRC car is based on the i20 model that’s not available in South Korea or in North America), or whether the brand will cross the pond and enter the U.S. market.
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