HYUNDAI’S N badge that will transform pedestrian passenger cars into street performance heroes won’t extend to the Korean carmaker’s standalone luxury brand, its chief designer says.
Instead, Peter Schreyer, the former Audi designer charged with transforming the image of Hyundai and its more upmarket Genesis brand from cheap transport to desirable driveway stuffers says the Genesis brand is likely to remain exclusive, and therefore pass on using the N badge to build excitement.
“It’s [using the N badge on Genesis models] something we have to work out now, and work on,” he said.
Anticipation has built for the N brand, which is shaping up to be Hyundai’s answer to the likes of Mercedes-AMG and BMW’s M Division, after former M Division engineering boss Albert Biermann defected to the Korean brand in late 2014.
The N division, whose logo adorns the side of Hyundai’s World Rally Championship i20 hatches, is yet to produce a road car – although it’s expected the first N model will be a more potent version of the Hyundai i30 hatch. Meanwhile, Genesis has hired ex-Lamborghini boss Manfred Fitzgerald as its president, and poached designer Luc Donckerwolke from Bentley.
With the N brand being new, and Genesis only officially spun off from Hyundai last November, rumours of a high-performance N-badged model now seem off the mark. Separating the Genesis brand from Hyundai, and then having the N brand on both Hyundai-badged and Genesis-branded models could be seen as diluting all three.
“It’s still under discussion,” said Schreyer. “It’s not decided exactly yet,” he said. When asked if he preferred Genesis to steer clear of the N models, he answered: “Probably, yes. All together Genesis is going to be separate program.”