These days, every automaker out there that wants to be taken seriously has a special performance division. BMW has M. Mercedes has AMG. Ford has Ford Performance. Volvo has Polestar. Honda has… nothing (HPD doesn’t count). Like I said, such things are being cultivated by automakers who are seeking to be taken seriously.
Soon enough, Hyundai will have N, which will be the Korean brand’s new performance division. While N is an interesting name for pretty much anything, it’s already stirring up a pretty good storm. The first vehicle to be handled by N is the Vision GT, a virtual racer that’s part of the new Gran Turismo video game.
The official launch of N is coming during the Frankfurt Motor Show, according to a report from Road & Track. That’s apparently when we’ll all get a good, long look at the Vision GT. During the show, expect to also see the unveiling of a Veloster Concept vehicle, which have a mid-engine configuration. The company is also supposed to show off a completely new rally car, which could be interesting with the Mitsubishi Evolution going into retirement.
For years now, Hyundai and Kia have both been striving to gain more relevance in the North American automotive market. Many consumers have shunned them, especially those who are well-heeled, thanks in large part to the economy-car image the two brands cultivated long ago. By establishing N and coming out with more performance-oriented vehicles, Hyundai could win over more people’s hearts and minds.
Expect to see N get its hands on several production Hyundai vehicles. Likely candidates include the dramatic-looking but anemic Veloster and the Genesis luxury sedan. Perhaps the move will also inspire some other car companies (hint, hint, Honda). If nothing else, the future cars will give enthusiasts even more variety to choose from.