Thursday, 26 September 2013

Hyundai To Enter Hot-Hatch Segment With An i 20 GT?

A car brand’s involvement in motorsport is always a reflection on what may be offered on its road legal vehicles and Hyundai is no different. The Korean car maker has drawn upon its recent announcement to enter the World Rally Championship (WRC) and plans are on to produce an i 20 GT! WRC being the ideal cross-over of performance and punishment seems to have encouraged the designers to develop a passenger vehicle that shares its DNA with the performance bred rally cars. Hopefully, the production car will be an amalgamation of performance and rigidity to make it suitable for tough roads. 

Volkswagen has already capitalized on the lack of a complete hot-hatch segment through the Polo GT TSI and recently launched GT TDI. Skoda on the other hand is unlikely to introduce a vRS version on the temporarily discontinued Skoda Fabia, citing issues of feasibility. The next generation Fabia is likely to have a model with cosmetic alterations to make it look like the vRS. The market demand for a small car with big performance is serving as the ideal opportunity for brands to offer a more enjoyable driving experience without  making buyers shell out ludicrous amounts of money. However, what remains to be seen is if India will see a toned down version of the i 20 GT in order to keep prices competitive. With Hyundai not only manufacturing cars in India, but also exporting them, the car maker can afford to be ambitious.

At the moment the i 20 is on offer in petrol and diesel variants, the petrol available with a 1.4-litre, 4-speed automatic as well. Details on the GT are limited as the car is unlikely to make an appearance in India before 2015 and the international launch is expected only in the last quarter of 2014. The i 20 made its arrival in 2009 and in the following years has only seen one facelift without any major non-cosmetic changes. The sales of the i 20 may dip, with the Grand i 10 bridging the gap between the i 10 and its older sibling. The Indian hot-hatch segment is likely to see more new entrants with the market trend reflecting the need for a performance vehicle with practicality.

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