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Hyundai to launch N high-performance brand in partnership with WRC team

Tue, 10 Dec 2013

Hyundai today announced it will launch a new high-performance N brand to rival go-faster versions from German manufacturers.

Future Hyundai N models will be low-volume sporting derivatives, inspired by the new i20 WRC rally car which will launch at the Monte Carlo race in January 2014.

The N badge is designed to cement the link with Hyundai's Namyang R&D centre in Korea, which helped develop the i20 WRC in record time - the team was only founded 12 months ago.

The company has not disclosed which models will get the N treatment, but the first is likely to be the i20 to cement the link to the rally-car programme.

Michel Nandan, team principal of Hyundai  Motorsport GmbH, told MSN Cars: "We will build a variety of N models and they will come in a variety of strengths. There is certainly scope to do a really extreme version in future."

MSN understands the N cars will be pitched as hardcore enthusiasts' models, with low volumes and extreme dynamics. Think AMG not GTI.

Why the extreme focus? Because the motorsport factory which will build them has limited capacity and because Hyundai recognises it has a relatively weak brand and it needs to make a major impact on the sports car market to be noticed.

Expect to see a Hyundai N concept car later in 2014, perhaps at the Paris Motor Show.

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By Tim Pollard, managing editor, MSN Cars