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“You’re representing me now. You think I am going to let you roll in Hyundai?”- I felt sorry for Hyundai back then, but it was a pretty solid burn from Han in Tokyo Drift towards the South Korean manufacturer, which might have aided to form the image of Hyundai, not manufacturing vehicles that are performance-oriented. It was 2006 when The Fast and The Furious Tokyo Drift released, and since it has been 14 years, Hyundai isn’t the same company that it once used to be. Performance offerings in the form of the i30 N and Veloster N alongside considerable wins in the touring car series and championship-winning WRC team have helped Hyundai shed their mass-oriented image and emerge as a manufacturer that is capable of manufacturing vehicles that can give other performance players a run for their money.
Riding on the wave of success of both performance and mass-oriented vehicles that are on sale from Hyundai, they seem to be going with an all-in approach as it has recently disclosed that it is developing a mid-engine sports car platform. This platform could be used universally by Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis to put forth some compelling products that could be powered with different powertrains, be it, internal combustion, hybrid, electric, or fuel cell. Hyundai has recruited some of the top performance engineers in the community to help them build this ambitious platform, which more or less would go toe to toe with the new C8 Corvette.
Thomas Schemera, Hyundai’s executive vice president for product and strategy, said that it would be extremely challenging to offer the prospective platform in a product that would cost $35,000 to $40,000. Thus Hyundai has decided that the platform would be best suited in a vehicle that would fall under the Genesis brand and could rival the C8 Corvette. Although it has not been permanently decided if this would be the only approach that Hyundai would follow, the possibility is quite high. Hyundai has already been busy pursuing this mid-engined platform for quite a long time, which has resulted in a prototype by the name of RM19N based on the current Veloster N TCR race car. The rolling bed, though in it’s early stages, is showing promise to Hyundai and could very well accelerate the project’s progress.
With Hyundai deciding to go against a vehicle that has been the culmination of decades of innovation, research, and development, it would be a sight to behold what the manufacturer finally puts forth the automotive audience. General Motors has achieved a feat with the new C8 Corvette by offering Supercar levels of handling and performance in a vehicle that is accessible for the mass market. Trying to dethrone the Corvette in the very segment that it has created and pioneered is highly ambitious. For a brand that has just started to get on top of performance-oriented vehicles, it budges on the border of being impossible. But if there is one brand that can overcome brand stereotypes and showcase that can impress critics and audiences alike- It is HYUNDAI.