New test site is key to boosting the appeal of the Hyundai brand; it will also be used to benchmark and test vehicles

Hyundai has shown off a new £4.7 million research and development facility being built at the Nürburgring.

Joining other manufacturers who have similar facilities on site, Hyundai will use the track to carry out durability testing on all new vehicles. Each new model will be put through 180,000km of road testing — 10,000km of which will be done on the Nürburgring. That's the equivalent of 480 laps.

The track, with its 73 corners and average altitude difference of 300 metres, provides the perfect stomping ground for testing new vehicles. 

Vehicle testing and development manager Axel Honish says the Nürburgring can replicate almost every condition found on European roads. "It's the ideal track; it covers all possible driving situations.

"It has the characteristics that will give an experienced driver a feel for the performance. The driver can then report where we need to change something, like the balance for example."

As other manufacturers do similarly, Hyundai keeps a fleet of its competitors' cars on hand to benchmark its own vehicles. A team of six professional drivers carry out testing on the track, with data then fed though the new research and development site and on to Korea.

Senior vice president and chief operating officer Allan Rushforth says the project aims to enhance the appeal of Hyundai to European drivers. Over 70 per cent of the Hyundai model range available in Europe is built here, with 95 per cent being developed and tested here, too.

Rather than focusing on new models, Rushforth says 2013 is all about increasing brand awareness. "We will increase awareness subliminally," he said. "I'm happy for the ride and handling characteristics of the cars to be evidence of the development that goes on here.

"The big opportunity for me is to get our vehicles on eye level with our competitors. We want to get to such a position so that we can persuade a customer that moving to Hyundai is the right decision."

The new site is due for completion in August.

Join the debate


22 May 2013

with the circuit currently up for sale following the filing for bancrupcy of the previous owner with debts of £338m. See below:

You have to suppose, though, it will always remain open when it generates £50m+ turnover a year - whoever owns it.

22 May 2013

Pretty much all of the car companies use the Nurburgring for testing so why don't they all club together and buy it between them.

22 May 2013

owenmahamilton wrote:

Pretty much all of the car companies use the Nurburgring for testing so why don't they all club together and buy it between them.

£100m split between them can't be insurmountable. Set up a company and call it, say, Nurburgring GmbH. Lease track time to the manufacturers and sell debentures for access (securing the capital for purchase) to ensure the 'right people' get access. When it's not in use run it like a regular circuit (trackdays, racing etc.). Or am I missing something?

23 May 2013

... this is probably Hyundai speak for "From now on we'll make you pay over the odds for our cars."

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