Hyundai Motor’s first high performance production car under the Hyundai N subbrand will come in 2017, a senior company executive said during the Frankfurt Motor Show the past week.
Biermann, who is responsible for developing high performance cars, revealed the plan during a group interview with the Korean press on the sidelines of the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. The press meeting came on the heels of his presentation on the vision for the N brand during the biannual auto trade show that kicked off in the day.
“We want to develop a performance car offering customers enjoyable driving experience not only on a race track, but also on a nice country road,” he said. However, he declined to comment on the details of the model and specs of the first N car which is in its early stage of development.
During my visit at the Frankfurt Motor Show, I asked some Hyundai Executives trying to get more information, but the only thing I got clear was, the first Hyundai N will be between the i20 or i30. I personally inclined for the i30, because its the model we saw as a test mule and Hyundai is also preparing its next generation i30 to debut in 2017, coincidence? I don’t think so.
Biermann, the former chief engineer of BMW’s performance car subbrand M, joined Hyundai’s Namyang research and development center in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, for Hyundai’s N project in April.
“We have many areas where we have a good level of technology and we have good and skilled engineers. The technology level of the Namyang center is quite good (to push for the project),” he said. He continued to say that Hyundai has its own capability in developing the engine for its performance car.
“From the technological point of view, we can develop our own engine. We are starting (the engine development) now. Korean engineers can learn very fast and a lot of tests and benchmarks have already been done and so we will have a good high performance engine,” he said.
The chief engineer for Hyundai’s performance cars said separate teams at the Namyang R&D center in Korea (in the picture above) and the company’s technical center in Europe, located in Russelsheim, Germany, are working closely for the development of the first Hyundai N car.
Entering the testing stage of the car, he will work with Hyundai’s test center in Nurburgring in Germany. Asked about the need for a subbrand for performance cars, he said it is a smart choice considering the brand image of Hyundai in overseas markets.
“Hyundai is quite a successful brand as a base car, but the brand right now does not stand for sporty cars,” he said. “And so, it is a good strategy to have a subbrand for performance cars in order to extending the span without changing the character of its core brand,” he added.
“It is a little bit different from Kia. Kia has a sporty image, especially, in Europe. This is why Kia started making the GT line (under its brand). They don’t need a subbrand as it has already a sporty image.”