Michel Nandan

Michel Nandan

Hyundai will use its return to WRC in 2014 to help promote a new performance sub-brand the Korean automaker has in the works. The focus will initially be on the European market, where WRC is primarily run, but eventually we could see some of the go-fast Hyundais launched under the performance sub-brand arrive on U.S. soil.

The information was revealed by Michel Nandan, Hyundai’s team principal for its WRC team, during a recent interview with Drive. Nandan said the launch of the performance sub-brand was at least a year away still, and that the first model to be launched under it would likely be based on the i20 subcompact sold overseas.

Just like the i20 WRC car currently in testing, the Hyundai performance sub-brand’s version of the i20 would likely come fitted with a turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive. More models would likely follow, possibly based on the Veloster Turbo and Genesis Coupe sold locally. Previously, it’s been reported that Hyundai was considering a sporty Elantra GT Turbo.

Hyundai is serious about improving its sporting credentials, even going so far to establish its own Nürburgring test facility. The return to WRC is also aimed at improving the engineering of Hyundai’s road cars but also to help attract the attention of younger buyers.

Stay tuned for an update.


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