Having successfully (in parts, at least) upgraded its status from budget beaters to genuine class contenders, Hyundai Europe is gunning to add yet another side to its multifaceted brand construct – the elusive performance breakthrough. To that end, the Germany-based Hyundai Motorsport GmbH will introduce a performance sub-brand as early as 2015.

Rally veteran and Hyundai’s WRC team chief Michel Nandan has confirmed the Korean brand’s intention, with the new sub-brand banking on the company’s return to the WRC stage next year. Its sporting credentials will have to be earned, however, especially since it’ll have to beat the newly-crowned WRC champion Sebastien Ogier and his Volkswagen team.

A performance-oriented sub-brand similar to the likes of Nissan’s Nismo is what Hyundai targets. Its first offering is said to be based on the next-generation i20 small hatchback, which is primed for a 2015 launch. Hyundai’s permanent, fully-fledged test centre at the Nurburgring track will play a pivotal role in this project.

It’s a simple enough premise: success on the world stage will improve Hyundai and its new sub-brand’s image and henceforth, sales (though arguably Proton has gained very little from its rallying exploits). Other than the hot i20 hatch, quicker, more serious variants of the Veloster, Genesis Coupe or even bigger hatchbacks/saloons could be on the cards. Anyone filled with excitement yet?