28 October 2003

This is the face of the all-new Hyundai Accent, which will go on sale in 2006, priced to undercut the Ford Focus and Renault Mégane. The teaser picture of the rally version (above) reveals a chunky Euro-look, and the production hatch will be bigger than today’s car, with three-, four- and five-door body styles. Expect 1.4, 1.6 and 1.8 petrol engines and a 1.5 diesel.

The new car will also spawn a WRC car when Hyundai will return to the World Rally Championship in 2006, after sitting out the next two seasons.

Cashflow problems were blamed for the team’s decision to withdraw at the end of this season but Hyundai is committing to a long term motorsport development plan. Plans are afoot to develop an all-new engine to slot into the next Accent, in preparation for a return to WRC half way through the 2006 season and then competing in the full programme in 2007.

‘This withdrawal is temporary, but absolutely mandatory in order for us to reorganise and rethink our entire approach. But we’ll be fighting back with a new engine and new car,’ said Senior Executive Vice President Harry Choi.

Part of the restructure will include relocating the team from Korea to Germany. And Hyundai is promising to recruit top engineering and driver talent to bolster its return.

This new HQ will also support Kia’s motorsport activities, which should signal them returning to the Paris-Dakar Rally.

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