Korean firm's motorsport boss says road cars will benefit from WRC engineering
16 October 2013

Hyundai motorsport chiefs say its World Rally Championship programme will result in warmed-up versions of its road cars being launched.

The Korean firm is joining the WRC next year and is testing the i20 machine that will do battle with VW’s Polo, Citroën’s DS3 and Ford’s Focus.

“It is Hyundai’s intention to connect the experience of sport with road cars,” said team principal Michel Nandan. “It’s probably a bit too early to talk about it because we’re still in the early stages of the development of the i20 WRC.”

Team manager Alain Penasse said the WRC programme was aimed at changing the brand image to attract younger buyers. “Whatever performance we get from the WRC car you always sell better,” he said. “You attract attention of younger people and that’s the aim of Hyundai. It knows it has to do something to make the brand younger and more dynamic.”

He added that the rally programme was already having an influence on the firm’s research and development activities: “We have a lot of Korean engineers who are at the WRC base near Frankfurt.

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Hyundai i20

Hyundai’s i20 is all about quality and value rather than desirability, although a nip and tuck in 2012 has helped

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"They work closely with us and there is a very good cooperation with the Yeongnam research and development centre. They started the work on the i20 WRC there before the programme was launched and are heavily involved.”

James Bolton

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16 October 2013

I was under the impression that Hyundai was the mature, comfort-oriented brand and that Kia was supposed to be young, dynamic and sporty. So I can see the sense in Kia producing performance models, but not both brands whose products are arguably too similar as it is.
Or maybe the market for hot Hyundai's is perceived to be so big that the company can't ignore it.

16 October 2013

My sentiments exactly LP. Think you're right that both brands can accommodate performance versions (VAG is a great example) and they definitely need to significantly differntiate. To be fair though, Peter Schreyer has said in the last few weeks that this will start happening from this point forward. It'll be great if Kia defines itself as the sporty brand and get's a proper car handling guy in like Ford's former chassis god Richard Parry Jones and builds a great team around him. A Pro'Ceed GTi with a 280bhp 2 litre turbo with properly sorted handling would be top of my list, it's a fab looking car....

16 October 2013

It is a nice looking car indeed.
I love hot hatches.
So many hot hatches, so little time.

16 October 2013

Kia/Hyundai may be seen by some as relatively small players in the UK and Europe but believe it or not the twins have already become a key global player.
With every new model or concept, I get the feeling that the Korean twins are hot in the pursuit of motoring excellence - led by a very competent Peter Schreyer.

16 October 2013

It's still very unclear how Hyundai and Kia are going to separate the two brands and stop competing against each other - Peter Schreyer, the new joint Chief Designer and joint CEO has said it'll take a full model cycle of 6 years to separate the two brands - the sad thing is that they're only starting now.

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Our Verdict

Hyundai i20

Hyundai’s i20 is all about quality and value rather than desirability, although a nip and tuck in 2012 has helped

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Driven this week