Hyundai Motor Company has announced exciting plans to re-enter the World Rally Championship in 2006, with a dynamic new car and in-house rally team.
As part of the reorganisation, the company will establish a new World Rally Team headquarters at its Design and Technical Centre in Russelsheim, Germany and will begin aggressive recruitment of top talent to strengthen the team’s engineering capabilities.
In the run up to 2006, Hyundai will be concentrating on the development of its all-new Theta engine and new three-door hatchback codenamed RC. The company will then re-enter the World Rally Championship mid-way through 2006, and compete in the whole of the 2007 season and beyond.
Harry Choi, Global Marketing and Communications Senior Executive Vice President, said: "We’re competitors at heart and rallying has always been an integral part of our plans to grow the Hyundai brand.
"This withdrawal is temporary but absolutely mandatory in order for us to reorganise and rethink our entire approach. But we will be back in fighting form with a completely new engine and car."
The two year break will be used to intensify development work on the new powertrain, and build up additional resources to revitalise the WRC programme.
Mr Choi added that motorsport has been an effective tool for raising Hyundai’s brand awareness and promoting the quality of its products. But if the company is to expand its product portfolio to include performance cars, winning on the race track is absolutely vital to the marketing success of those future products.
Late this year, the company will begin recruitment of new staff with the aim of attracting top engineers to its new team headquarters in Russelsheim – and this includes drivers to assist in the development and testing.
Hyundai’s rally support team, currently based at the Namyang R+D Centre in Korea, will also relocate to Russelsheim as part of the effort to integrate all motorsport development activities in-house.
The Hyundai European Design and Technical Centre is located in Russelsheim, just outside of Frankfurt. This new 50 million Euro complex opened in July 2003 and is also home to Hyundai’s European marketing and sales headquarters.
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