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Frankfurt show: Schreyer says Hyundai ‘ripe’ for N brand

New N-ergy: Hyundai’s design team is tooling-up for a fresh styling challenge with the new N-branded hot vehicles on the way.

Hyundai embarks on new design philosophy with high-performance N sub-brand

Hyundai logo16 Sep 2015

By DANIEL GARDNER in FRANKFURT

HYUNDAI Motor Group chief design officer Peter Schreyer is confident the South Korean car-maker’s just-launched high-performance N sub-brand will draw in a broad new audience with a range of models that look as potent as they perform.

Speaking with GoAuto at the unveiling of the extraordinary N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo racer in Frankfurt today, Mr Schreyer admitted the concept car was a long way from production.

However, he said the GT racer plays an important role in the company’s new N-branding strategy as a new era of driver-focused models gets underway.

“It will open up a lot of possibilities,” Mr Schreyer said.

“The N brand is not (all) about design, it’s about performance, and so we are going to develop things together with our performance specialists so that design and performance go together for one cause.

“It’s about finding a harmony between what the car is capable of and what it looks like.”

With the appearance of the GT in the widely popular global computer game, Mr Schreyer believes the image and reputation of Hyundai will be given a shot in the arm, elevating it to a new, more performance-focused level.

He said that with a digital profile, the hyper-Hyundai would reach a new audience in a virtual world and attract potential customers that might not have previously given the brand a second glance.

In addition to the halo effect of such a fantasy machine, Mr Schreyer said the project had inspired the Hyundai design team, and that the new energy in the design department would influence future production vehicles.

“With this car we are participating in the Sony Gran Turismo game and I think it’s a very important ambassador for the brand with the whole gaming community and young people that are attracted by this kind of thing,” he said.

“It’s a good motivating exercise for our designers to do this for enthusiasts but also it gives them inspiration for the next projects.”

Mr Schreyer said he could not reveal which production model would be the first to roll out wearing the new N badges, but did confirm work was already underway and more information would follow soon.

“To be able to make a car of this performance you need a group of specialists.

We are just about to start with this and we are in it with a lot of enthusiasms and we are working together already,” he said.

“I don’t think I can tell you now but you will see one fairly soon.”

While many rival car-makers have developed a flagship performance brand, Hyundai is a newcomer to a dedicated sports division.

However, Mr Schreyer said the company had carefully planned the timing of ‘N’, which gets its name from Hyundai’s Namyang global research and development centre“It’s about an attitude and a lifestyle,” he said. “The gaming community is not only young people – it’s a big movement with millions of people – so I think it will reach quite a big audience.

“It is a good time. We are ripe and the time has come now to do it.”

Hyundai is keeping the N-brand pioneer model a closely guarded secret, but the most likely candidates are a hot version of the compact i20 hatchback or a bristling 2.0-litre turbo version of the i30 that a would bump gloves with the Volkswagen Golf GTI.

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