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Hyundai to create performance sub-brand – hopefully one with fewer vowels

Hyundai WRC

Surely, Hyundai can come up with a name that doesn't sound like a sub-Saharan skin infection.

Hyundai revealed today that it is working on an in-house performance sub-brand. And – my god – I hope its marketing team comes up with a better name than Hyundai.

When Hyundai hit the U.S. market 27 years ago, it built econo-cars made for industrial carpet salesmen whose favorite color was eggshell white. Now, though, the Korean brand makes all sorts of cars, from luxury sedans to full on sports coupes.

Since it’s moved upmarket, Hyundai has attracted an older crowd, but it wants to change that. Accordingly, it aims to create an new performance-oriented brand much like Nissan’s NISMO.

Funny that Hyundai has come to this realization. It’s something I’ve been saying to people in the industry for years. I’ve also said for years that if the Hyundai brass have anything between their ears, they’ll come up with a more embraceable and pronounceable name.

I’m not saying they need to find a western-sounding name. Toyota and Honda are definitely Japanese but also poppy and fun to say. Hyundai, however, is the sound you make when you accidentally eat some expired yogurt.

Which of its cars will begin the performance brand? Its all-new 2015 i20, which is a subcompact that Hyundai doesn’t sell in the U.S. Why has it chosen this car for its performance line? Hyundai has used the new i20 for the basis of its new, all-wheel drive World Rally Championship car.

Speaking with Drive, Hyundai Motorsport team manager Alain Penasse said: “You attract and hold the attention of the younger people, which is the aim of Hyundai. So in the future they have decided they need to do something to make their brand younger and more dynamic.”

As for a timeline, Hyundai doesn’t expect any new brand unveil for at least a year. So perhaps by this time next year, we’ll see a Hyundai inspired by NISMO. Great success?