Hyundai introduced its first vehicle to the U.S. market in 1986, and just under 30 years later South Korea’s largest car manufacturer has become an industry leader in initial quality and one of the world’s 5 most-admired automotive companies.
Yet despite such rapid and dramatic success, Hyundai has always steered clear of having a separate sub-division for luxury models. While Nissan has Infiniti and Toyota has Lexus, high-end vehicles from Hyundai have always retained the Hyundai name. Hyundai has built its reputation by branding every vehicle it has produced, from the entry-level Excel that kicked off U.S. sales in 1986 to the jaw-dropping 2015 Genesis, as part of the same family of vehicles.
Following surging sales and Hyundai Motorsport’s success in the 2014 World Rally Championship (WRC,) Hyundai is set to debut a sub-brand for high-performance vehicles. Dubbed the N series, Hyundai’s entry into the performance market will be showcased at this month’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Among Hyundai’s featured vehicle will be the N 2025 Vision Gran Turismo, a car that will never be mass produced but which those in attendance can take for a virtual test drive through the use of a Sony Playstation.
There are no immediate plans to bring the N series to the United States, but as performance vehicles undergo something of a renaissance among car enthusiasts, company insiders have stated that they would “not be surprised” if the N series eventually reaches the U.S. market. The Hyundai N RM15 concept car, which is essentially a mid-engine, supercharged Veloster, debuted at the 2015 Seoul Motor Show and may provide a glimpse of how the N line could translate to mass-produced vehicles.
We’re very excited at the prospect of having the N line of vehicles reach our shores (and store!) someday, but Hyundai is only able to develop a line of vehicles to directly compete with brands like BMW and Mercedes because the vehicles it already has in production, and on the road, are truly world-class.